Advisories can wait, but hospitality cannot: Kashmiri Travel agents to hold promotional roadshow in Thailand to boost foreign arrivals

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

Srinagar: Undeterred by the advisories, tourism honchos have decided to launch a massive publicity blitzkrieg in foreign countries to sell Kashmir as a safe destination and boost arrivals.

To start with, Pilgrim and Leisure Tour Operators Federation (PILTOF) has decided to organize a road show in Thailand, which is one of the major contributors to the foreign arrivals in Kashmir, on November 23.

“South-east Asia, which includes Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, is one of the main contributors to our foreign arrivals. From Thailand, we receive more than 20,000 tourists annually which is a good number. So we have decided to hold a roadshow in Thailand on November 23 to send a message that Kashmir is safe,” Showkat Pakhthoon, Chairman of PILTOF said.

He exuded confidence that the roadshow will push the annual arrivals to more than 50,000.

“In winter, we are expecting the number to go beyond 50,000. We will hold a roadshow and interact with the local stakeholders in Thailand,” he said.

Official figures reveal that in 2019. 33,779 foreign tourists visited Kashmir. The number plummeted to 3897 in 2020 due to COVID and further declined to 1615.

Officials said that foreign tourists comprise only 8-10 percent of the total arrivals this year.

President, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo told The Kashmir Monitor that his association is also chalking out a strategy for national and international tourism promotion.

“To begin with, we have decided to start our promotions across the country. We will also hold international promotions during winter,” he said.

TAAK, which is an association of hundreds of travel agents, will also make use of broadcast and social media to promote Kashmir for the upcoming season.

An official from the tourism department said they also are compiling a list of destinations in the country and abroad to promote Jammu and Kashmir on a bigger canvas.

Around 1.62 crore tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir since January 2022, which is the highest number recorded in 30 years.__The Kashmir Monitor