Gulmarg Conferred ‘All Seasons Destination’ Award

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BERLIN : World famous  Gulmarg tourist resort was awarded the best ‘All Seasons Destination’ of the world by Pacific Asia Travel Writers Association (PATWA) at ITB Berlin- the world’s leading travel trade show  .

The award was conferred by a reputed jury, including Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Dr. Ghassan Aidi (President International Hotel and Restaurant owners association), and Frederic Pierret representative of World Tourism Organisation (WTO).

 The award was presented by the Executive Director WTO and Secretary General PATWA at ICC building, Messe Berlin to the Minister for Tourism, Ghulam Ahmed Mir and Minister of State for Tourism, Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo. During the presentation, both officials of J&K Tourism department and Tour and Travel players of the state were present.

“Firstly I would like to congratulate the Hoteliers, Tour and Travel bodies, GDA, J&K Cable Car and all other associated players of tourism industry of the state for the award. Gulmarg deserved it always but the credit goes to every common individual of our state who has contributed in making Gulmarg as all seasons’ destination,” said Minister for Tourism J&K State Ghulam Ahmad Mir, after receiving the award.

In his address, Sajjad Kichloo said, “This award is the recognition of our efforts and we have to continue doing the good work and make all other places as all seasons’ destination in the state. We have to make our tourism products more competitive and effective so that like this award, our every product in itself gets recognition in coming years,” commented Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo, MoS Tourism, J&K State.

 ITB Berlin 2013 is by far the world’s largest meeting place of international tourism players, policy decision-makers and business leaders. The German chancellor, the Indonesian president, representatives of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Pacific Asia Travel Writers Association (PATWA) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), as well as more than 100 ministers of tourism and state secretaries, met in Berlin to help shape the future for growth in the tourism industry.    The others who attended the fair from the state included Nasir Shah from JKTA, Ifshan Khandey representing Hoteliers Club, Tashi representing tour operators from Ladakh, besides officials of the department. The major attraction for this year’s fair included display of traditional costumes of J&K State, Folklore presentations from the state, which drew huge crowds to the stall and was appreciated by exhibitors and visitors

On the sidelines of the event ministers and officials of the state met various delegations from different countries and diversities focussing on promoting J&K as a safe destination.

The Ministers Ghulam Ahmed Mir and Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo, besides Talat Parvez, Director Tourism Kashmir, Robin.S.Mehta, Director Tourism Jammu and officials of the government had detailed discussions with media representatives from UK, Germany, France, Facilitators in European Parliament, UK parliament, Governor from provinces of Turkey, Lebanese representatives, German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Malaysian delegations, Tour and travel bodies from Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Besides the foreigners, lots of Non resident Indians promised and assured of full support in reviving European tour market for J&K state. They put forward their suggestions and were assured by ministers of all possible help. They were hopeful that the travel advisories can be waved off and proposed a group of professionals who will be working for promoting J&K as a tourist destination and be known as Friends of Jammu and Kashmir. It was the personal effort of ministers where in the discussions and deliberations were held in a very positive manner. Those who met the ministers included Dr. Mehmet Diamagueler; Abhay lakhani, Simi Arora, Tajamul, Sarah Mathews , Dr Ajit Singh, Osman Zuhel, Artur Matiaszczyk, Nina Erkan, Natalie Marell, Chris Thomas, Asem Ziah and many other representatives.

ITB Berlin has kicked off the travel season around the globe. From 6 to 10th March 2013, 10,086 exhibitors from 188 countries presented their products and services in display halls that were fully booked up.

Overall, some 110,000 trade visitors came to Berlin, of whom 43 per cent were from abroad. The ITB Berlin Convention registered record levels of attendance. A total of 21,000 took part in the 200 sessions, 25 per cent more than in 2012. No other place in the world gathers so many leading representatives from the private and public sector. This is where the tone is set for the future of travel for a billion people. “The visit has been very positive; we have to work hard to make our destination as the safest destination for foreign market. I request to the people of Jammu and Kashmir that without their support we cannot do that. Together we can and we should make J&K as all season’s Safe destination,” remarked Minister for Tourism Ghulam Ahmed Mir. The ministers were given warm welcome at both national and international stalls and the whole event has helped in making foreign tourist aware that J&K is a safe destination. 

Referring to the recent remarks about the space controversy, Talat Parvez, Director Tourism, Kashmir said, “It was decided in the meeting with hoteliers Club and Tour and travel operators in Srinagar that we should have an additional space for private entrepreneurs at ITB Berlin. After they agreed, we approached ITB for an additional space. . Infact it was very difficult to get an additional slot in the exhibition and now we have got it and we can use it for coming years.”    

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