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Mega tourism event in Kashmir from Mar 27-29: Golf, tulip garden luncheon await delegates

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New Delhi, Mar 18 :Seeking to reinforce Jammu and Kashmir’s position on the tourism map and dispel any notion of fear among travellers, a national-level travel body is organising a mega event in Srinagar later this month.

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) is holding its 64th annual convention in the heart of the Valley, after a gap of over thirty years, officials said today.

“The primary focus of this cultural extravaganza is to promote tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and reinforce its position on the tourism map as a major draw for travellers,” President of TAAI Sunil Kumar said.

The event to be inaugurated at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), located along the banks of picturesque Dal Lake, is being supported by the department of tourism of the state government.

“It’s a three-day programme. On the first day (March 27), a mini golf tournament will be held in the morning at the Royal Springs Golf Course, followed by the inaugural event at the SKICC. On the second day a business-to-business knowledge session would be held,” Kumar told PTI.

“The Tulip Festival opens on March 25. And, on the last day of the convention (March 29), there would be a special luncheon hosted for delegates to promote out floral heritage at par with those in the Netherlands,” he said.

The TAAI was established in 1951 and has about 2,500 travel and touring companies as its members, Kumar said.

“We have been doing our annual conventions outside India for quiet some time. Then for the last couple of years we have had it in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru. This year, we decided to do it in Srinagar.

“The state government is very keen on lending greater visibility to the tourism potential of the state and so we are all for that. Also, the purpose is to send out messages to potential travellers that there is nothing to worry about here,” he added.

Places like Pehalgam and Gulmarg, where a large number of tourists go to, are all peaceful.  Stray incidents happen but then they happen everywhere, Kumar said, adding that Delhi was also suggested as one of the cities to host the event, but Srinagar was chosen.

A senior official of the TAAI said, “We had held our last annual convention in Kashmir over three decades ago and now again, we are excited to venture there.”

“About 400 delegates from the field of travel and hospitality from across the India will converge at Srinagar for the event. We have also invited a few foreign delegates, including travel writers,” he added.

There would also be a post-event tour for delegates to Gulmarg and Pehalgam to showcase the natural beauty and heritage of Kashmir, the official said.

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