The Kashmir-based tourism traders’ fraternity today welcomed the transfer of DDC Srinagar Farooq A Shah as Director Tourism and MD JKTDC.
The traders from across different segments of tourism trade including hoteliers’ groups, tour and travel agents’ organizations, adventure tourism trade and adventure sports bodies expressed delight over what they termed as return of Farooq A Shah to Tourism department.
In a joint statement the tourism bodies expressed gratitude to Governor N N Vohra and Chief Secretary Iqbal Khanday for bringing Shah back to Tourism department. Pertinently Shah was recently felicitated by the tourism players on his induction in IAS.
The traders said that in the face of huge challenges to tourism sector in Kashmir, particularly in the post-flood period, return of “a person of Shah’s caliber, dynamism and experience has brought hope to us.”
“Shah was the right choice for this post. During his earlier stint he left no stone upturned to develop tourism in Kashmir. During his time the tourism touched new highs.”
“Shah introduced new tourism products in adventure tourism. New areas like Gurez and Bangus were opened for tourism and three International Rafting Championships were conducted consecutively in Kashmir valley. The Winter Games and many other National Ski and Snowboarding championships were held at Gulmarg successfully during his time,” the tourism bodies said in a statement.
The joint statement was issued by Kashmir Hotel & Restaurant Association (KHARA), Kashmir Hotel & Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF), J&K Hoteliers Club (JKHC),Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK), Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), J&K Tourism Alliance (JKTA), Urban Travel Agents Association (UTTA), Association of Kashmir Tour Operators (AKTO), Pilgrim & Leisure Tour Operators Association (PILTOF), Travel agents Association of India (TAAI-JK Chapter), Indian Association Tour Operators (IATO – JK Chapter), Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK), J&K Ski and Mountaineering Association (JKSMA), Kashmir Rafting Operators Association (KROA),J&K Mountaineering and Hiking Club (JKMHC) , Winter Games Association of J&K. (WGAJK) and JK Sports Development Association (JKSDA).
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Chairman, Nigeen Lake Conservation Organization, Manzoor Wangnoo welcomed Shah’s return.
He said: “This will usher a new era of development and bloom in the Tourism sector of Kashmir.”