‘Natural beauty alone won’t help us attract tourists’
Asif Iqbal Burza, is a young entrepreneur. At the age of 19, he stepped into his family business and by the dint of his hard work and dedication became Director Ahad Hotels and Resorts. Burza shares his experiences in business with GK Business Reporter Mukeet Akmali. Excerpts
Tell us something about yourself?
I have done my schooling in Burn Hall School, Srinagar. After finishing my schooling I went to Dehradun to continue for further studies. I did my Bachelor of Commerce from Delhi University.
How did you come into business?
Right from my childhood I wanted to do business because of my family background. My father Mushtaq Ahmad Burza is also a businessman and I am the fourth generation businessman from my family. No thought about any other profession ever crossed into my mind. My focus was always to join our family business. I started doing business at the age of 19, while simultaneously continuing with my studies. My father is the person I have inspired from and I always admire his dedication towards his work and I want to follow his footsteps.
What kind of business do you have?
Our company Ahad Hotels and Resorts is in the hospitality sector. We have four hotels in the Valley, besides we also export Handicrafts and we have our showroom in New Delhi. We have recently started Cold storage store at Lassipora.
Valley though a tourist place suffers from infrastructure deficit. How do you look to this problem?
Definitely, there is shortage of hotels in the Valley. I feel there is burning need for infrastructure upgradation. Government should think in this matter and encourage and support upgradation of hospitality sector. Natural beauty alone won’t help us attract tourist. We need to upgrade our infrastructure and when we compare our infrastructure with the rest of country, we are far behind them.
How difficult was it for the hospitality sector to survive during the years when tourism was at its lowest ebb in the Valley?
Initially when I joined my family business here, it was very difficult to survive. During 2003 there was little rush of tourists to the Valley. Our hotels had quite low occupancy, but we did not lose hope and continued with our business. Nowadays anyone can start hotel or travel company and next day they will have full booking as the tourists are preferring to visit this place as the situation has improved as compared to earlier times.
You are also dealing in Handicrafts. Do you think intrusion of ‘non-Kashmiri’ handicraft items which are sold under the label of ‘Kashmir-made’ has defamed our handicraft industry?
It is very unfortunate that fake articles are sold in the name of Kashmiri handicraft. It is defaming our handicraft sector. There is need of creating awareness among the customers. Simultaneously, the authorities concerned should ensure that the foreign articles are not sold in the name of Kashmiri handicraft. Kashmir is known for its handicraft. We need to preserve our culture and not allow anybody to defame it.
Your future business plans?
We are currently working on Rs 50 crore Cold Storage project at Lassipora. The unit will provide jobs to more than 150 locals. The cold storage will help apple growers to store and preserve their apples and sell them at an appropriate time. This project is started by my younger brother Faisal Burza under the name and style of ‘Fruit Master Agro Fresh Company.’
You have been hosting Bollywood celebrities. Even some credit you for bringing Bollywood back to the Valley? Are there any new film shoots going to be held in the Valley in near future?
I have been awarded by Tourism Department for promotion of tourism in the Valley. When it comes to Bollywood we have hosted team of Rockstar movie. I pursued Imtiyaz Ali, director of the film, to shoot the film and he readily agreed to it. Recently, Karan Johar also shot his next film “Student of the year” and whole lodging facilities were taken care by our company Ahad Hotels and Resorts. There are many film producers who expressed their willingness to shoot in Kashmir. Even Yashraj, noted film production of Bollywood, is shooting their film in the Valley in August.
Your advice to budding entrepreneurs of the Valley?
My advice to youngsters is to be optimistic, positive and sincere in life and try to be helpful for the people around you and your society.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM BUSINESS
- ‘Natural beauty alone won’t help us attract tourists’
- Registrations to close today
- HRI launches ‘Streax Xenoh’
- 1600 landlines dead in tourist hub, adjoining areas
- Yateem Foundation conducts entrance for 10th HESP
- IGP Kashmir inaugurates fitness centre at Hyderpora
- 'Wasakhnag to be brought on tourist map'
- Nimson launches cream
- ‘Lolab to emerge as bright spot for tourism stakeholders’
- INVESTMENT MATTERS
SHRC Miffed At Poor Patient Care, Sends SOS To GoI
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, May 27: Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has castigated the State Government over poor patient care and lack of basic amenities at the Valley’s sole Government Psychiatric More
- Srinagar City
‘To be part of million dollar business, vested interests morph canine visuals’
Srinagar, May 27: With the government starting its much hyped Animal Birth Control (ABC) program to sterilize stray packs –the venture, which is being seen worth millions of dollars–a “Dog Mafia” is out More
‘PDP Can Facilitate Resolution’
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Hiranagar, (Jammu), May 27: Opposition People's Democratic Party on Sunday said any solution to the vexed issue of Kashmir should be found within the framework of the Indian Constitution and called for More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
United Nations, May 27: The United Nations has strongly condemned the massacre of at least 92 civilians, including 32 children, in a village near Homs in Syria, leading global calls for urgent action against More