CHENNAI: The weather in the city these days here, post monsoon, is very pleasant. But for the tour operators here, more pleasant has been the outreach by the J&K Tourism Department. A team of officers from J&K Tourism have been holding a series of meetings with the representatives of the Tour and Travel industry of Tamil Nadu these days.
As part of the outreach, the team of officers from J&K Tourism met prominent Tour operators of the State and representatives of various tourist trade bodies including Mr. S. Sakthivadivel, Secretary, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI)-Southern Region, Dr. Pazhani Murugesan, Managing Committee member, Travel Agents Association of India, Kalaimamani VKT Balan, leading travel operator and President, Tamil Nadu Tour Trade and Hospitality Association, Muhammad Haneef Khan of 80 years old company Subedar & Sons and representatives of Domestic Tour Operators of India- TN and host of other Tour Operators.
In these meetings, the heads of the Tour bodies recalled the sweet memories they were having of their experiences in J&K, its cuisine and culture. They hoped to look forward to working with J&K with an expanded volume of business and impressionable experiences.
“I wish every travel agent undertakes a familiarisation tour himself or herself to get to know what J&K and its experiences are all about”, said J. Devaki, Managing Director of Avocet Tours & Travel(P) Ltd. She was seconded by Sandhiya S, proprietor of Blue Hawk Tour & Travels who is flying an all women tourist group to J&K by the end of this month. “This all women group is proof enough about the safety of women travellers to Kashmir ”, she added. “After months of virtual meetings, thanks to the initiative of the J&K Government, we are interacting in the actual” remarked Mr Senthilkumar, Proprietor of Airlinks Travel, who alongwith his brother had come to attend the interaction all the way from Erode.
In his remarks, legendary tour operator of Tamil Nadu, Kalaimamani VKT Balan described J&K as a second home for him given his decades long travel experience of handling J&K tourism. He recalled the shootings of Tamil movies in Kashmir during the 1950s.
The tour operators, however, felt the need for starting a direct air service from Chennai to Srinagar and Jammu to further improve the number of tourists from Tamil Nad and they requested the Department to take up this matter with concerned airlines.
The team of officers from J&K Tourism Department, comprising Deputy Directors, Naresh Kumar and Ahsanul Haq Chishti gave an overview of the emerging tourist scenario in the UT with a host of activities being planned for the coming days. Further, the Tour operators were informed that their counterparts in J&K are geared up for receiving tourists and all hotels, guest houses, houseboats and restaurants are fully equipped to welcome the guests while ensuring their health safety protocols.
The Tourism Department, they were informed, has drawn up a calendar of activities for the coming autumn season. Events and activities have also been slated for the Winter especially at the Ski destination of Gulmarg, the officers informed the Chennai tour operators.