Perception change about the valley and the state, indeed, were imperative to driving tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and restoring its long-lost glory, suggested Tourism Minister Tassaduq Hussain Mufti. He was addressing media delegates on the sidelines of the 64th annual convention of TAAI (Travel Agents Association of India), held in Srinagar.
Highlighting the need for sustainable and responsible tourism, he batted for a more balanced approach in strengthening footfalls. “We have been polluting our rivers and lakes. This trend has to be reversed immediately so that environmental awareness keeps pace with the development of the tourist industry in Kashmir,” Hussain said.
He thanked TAAI for their support, noting that the state needed the association more than the association needed the state.
Interestingly, due to lack of quality accommodation in the city, only 600 of the 5000 members attended the convention.
TAAI convention is sure to bring back spotlight on to the valley and its pristine tourism assets. Marred with domestic issues, the state has lost out on benefits of tourism for several years. With the peak season around the corner, the convention has set the wheels in motion. It will be interesting to see how the local tourism stakeholders carry forward the momentum and push tourism to its rightful pedestal in the coming months.
For the uninitiated, Srinagar, host to this year convention, was host to 1988’s annual convention too. Incidentally, it coincided with the inauguration of Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).