Advisor to Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai Friday met several delegations of Travel and Hospitality sector who apprised him about several issues confronting tourism industry of the State and gave various suggestions to boost it.The delegations included Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Travel Agents Society of Kashmir, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance, Association of Kashmir Tour Operators, Pilgrim and Leisure Tour Operators Forum, Travel Agents Association of India -JK Chapter, Urban Travel Agents Association, Tourist Trade Interest Guild, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, Adventure Tour Operators of Kashmir and Shikara Owners Association.Director Tourism Kashmir Nisar Ahmad Wani, Deputy Director Publicity Riyaz Ahmad Shah, Deputy Director M&W Abdul Qayoom Kirmani were also present on the occasion.The delegation of Houseboat owners sought financial package for the repair and renovation of the houseboats to save the heritage properties. They also sought rehabilitation of the de-registered houseboats located at Chinar Bagh, River Jhelum, Dal and Nigeen Lake by developing a tourist village at Chandapora, Srinagar.
The tour operators urged the Advisor to launch aggressive tourism promotion campaigns through road shows, participation in the travel and trade fairs across India and installing hoardings at prime locations in different cities to send a positive message that Kashmir is safe tourist place.The travel and tour operators also demanded additional trains from the major cities like Ahmadabad, Kolkatta and other cities for Jammu to help attract budget class tourists.They said the introduction of the night flights will also help in attracting more tourists, especially corporate houses and regulate high air fare during the peak season.The tour operators urged for the provision of giving permission to the filmmakers at Tourism Directorate office instead of Civil Secretariat.The Advisor directed the Director Tourism Kashmir to issue permissions to the filmmakers for their shootings in Kashmir as per past practice.The tour operators also expressed concern over the impact of GST, which they said has made the J&K state an expensive destination for travellers.They urged upon the Advisor to take up the matter with the GST Council so that State’s tourism is made tax-free industry.Travel agents informed the Advisor that they are the prime promoter of the state’s tourism destination and they may be given incentives for promotional activities under Market Development Assistance Schemes.The tour operators said they are facing problems due to non-categorization of the hotels and sought classification of hotel tariffs.
The Advisor gave patient hearing to the delegations and assured that their genuine issues would be addressed and valuable suggestions considered for action.He also assured that the department will soon launch aggressive promotional campaign within and outside the country to attract travellers from across the globe.The Advisor assured the tour operators that the government will write to Union Railway Minister for incorporating additional trains to Jammu in the union budget.The Advisor also met the delegations of adventure tour operators who sought provision of training the local youth as guides in adventure sports activities including river rafting, paragliding and skiing.The Advisor gave on-spot directions to the Director Tourism Kashmir to start the process of training local youth in all the three regions of the State.The delegation of the hoteliers suggested construction of the common STPs as the individual STPs will not be viable for the hoteliers. They also sought renewals of the hotel registrations located in an around Lal Chowk. They said their renewal is pending for last several years for the want of STPs.The delegation of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry demanded continuation of Leave Travel Concessions (LTC) tour benefits by the Government of India and beautification of the heritage sites like Budshah Tomb, Pathar Majsid, Hari Parbat Fort, Jamia Masjid to promote heritage and urban tourism.He assured that Government would make every effort to attract both domestic and foreign tourists to the State.