State govt to help operators in promoting Islamic tours
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