Paradise regained for Kashmir
Shameem Wani, Managing Director, JKTDC, talks about plans to promote Kashmir differently and how MICE and luxury tourism are now their focus areas.
How was last year for tourism in Kashmir?
The year 2013 was good in terms of tourist inflow. Despite the conditions in Uttarakhand, the summer of 2013 was very good for us. In fact, even for 2014, we have witnessed unprecedented tourist inflow in the month of March, which left us surprised. We surpassed the target figure of last year in March. For April and May too, we have witnessed a surge in bookings. We are expecting the tourist inflow to be more than 1.5 million this year.
Kashmir is a destination that has been promoted far and wide. How would you market it differently?
The tourism minister has taken a new initiative to promote places like Dodh Patri and Yousmarg. The Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) is com- ing up with a premiere accommodation in the brand name of Kung Push opening in 5 places and one of them will be in Yousmarg. We are also coming up with a Pahalgam Club, which will be a prestigious club and will be one of the best clubs in North India. We will
We also want to focus on MICE tourism, besides leisure tourism. We are also aggressively marketing Kashmir as a major luxury destination.
open it in three phases starting from the month of June. We also want to focus on MICE tourism, besides leisure tourism. We are also aggres- sively marketing Kashmir as a major luxury destination.
Which are the countries that you are focussing on to promote Kashmir?
Sometimes the promotion has to be taken on a very selective basis, like we will be going for roadshows to South East Asia. We are primarily focussing on Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. We get a lot of tourists from these places during the period between November and January because this is the time that most of them have their Christmas holidays.
How are you planning to market Kashmir to other international tourists?
We are participating at various international marts like WTM and ATM. In the first day of ATM 2014 itself, we generated business
` of more than 50 lakh and most of the queries were from Iran, UK and Dubai. We will also be traveling to ITB Singapore, and are also holding roadshows in Malaysia. We will also be having a Wazwan festival in 5 countries, I have met the Tourism Secretary, Parvez Dewan and he has agreed to send our chefs to food festivals in New York, London, Dubai, Malaysia and Italy.