State govt to help oper­a­tors in pro­mot­ing Is­lamic tours

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY -

Mum­bai: The state gov­ern­ment may col­lab­o­rate with tour oper­a­tors, hote­liers and other ser­vice providers to boost Is­lamic travel. Inau­gu­rat­ing the first Is­lamic Travel Mart in Mum­bai on Satur­day, min­is­ter for ed­u­ca­tion, mi­nor­ity depart­ment and wakf Vinod Tawde said the state would sup­port the ef­forts of ev­ery agency en­gaged in boost­ing not just Haj and Um­rah to Saudi Arabia but re­li­gious tours to other des­ti­na­tions too.

“We will col­lab­o­rate and en­sure that this sec­tor’s po­ten­tials are tapped,” Tawde said, en­dors­ing the views of Haj Com­mit­tee of In­dia CEO Dr M A Khan who said that the B2B mech­a­nism be­ing pro­moted through the two-day (Oc­to­ber 13-14) ex­hi­bi­tion would sub­stan­tially re­duce the cost of travel and would ben­e­fit pil­grims.

“In­dia has the third largest Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion in the world and it sends 1, 75000 Haj pil­grims and over 600,000 Um­rah pil­grims to Saudi Arabia an­nu­ally. The Is­lamic and Halal tourism sec­tor is un­tapped, “said Is­lamic Travel Mart’s MD and chief man­ag­ing of­fi­cer Ghaz­an­far Ibrahim. Over 25 PTOs, sev­eral agents from across the coun­try are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ex­hi­bi­tion.

Tour op­er­a­tor Al Khalid Tours and Travel’s Yusuf Ahmed Kher­ada said the pro­posed plan to al­low Um­rah pil­grim to see more than two cities (Mecca and Me­d­ina) on Um­rah visas would boost the in­dus­try and rev­enue of the Saudi gov­ern­ment.

Si­h­noon Backer (Babu), the reser­va­tion man­ager for lead­ing ho­tels in Mecca and Me­d­ina, said that the ex­hi­bi­tion had en­abled the hote­liers in­ter­act di­rectly with the In­dian travel agents and tour oper­a­tors. —Mo­hammed Wa­ji­hud­din

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