Nazar A Mir, Chairman, Association of Kashmir Tour Operators, addressing a Road Show on January 6 -Photo : Monitor
Dhaka : We are giving you educational tourists we want leisure tourists from Bangladesh. Some 10,000 students from Kashmir are studying in Bangladesh, mostly in different medical colleges, Nazir A Mir, Chairman, Association of Kashmir Tour Operators (AKTO), said in the city recently.
Mir said, this while talking on the sidelines of the second road show the association held in here to promote destinations in Jammu and Kashmir among Bangladeshi leisure tourists. Nazir A Tunda, President, AKTO was with him.
The AKTO Chairman, who headed a 15-member delegation - all tour operators and travel agents - to the second road show said, our purpose of visit to Dhaka is to invite the people of Bangladesh to visit our Jammu and Kashmir.
I am representing Jammu and Kashmir Tour Operators. We had a road show which was jointly organised by the association, we came here on January 1.
We started marketing in Bangladesh last year. We held a road show last year and we received a good number of tourists from Bangladesh in 2017. This is our second road show. We hope we'll be able to attract still more Bangladeshi tourists to Jammu and Kashmir.
Mir said Jammu and Kashmir received near about 2,500 tourists from Bangladesh. It was the first year. The third largest number of tourists was from Bangladesh, while south Asian countries are the first, he said.
Kashmir is a unique destination - it's a destination for all seasons. We have high altitude mountains, lakes, golf courses, skiing, mosques, shrines - we have everything. The highest ski resort is in Gulmarg.
He said Jammu and Kashmir is the safest destination … it's a zero crime destination. Whatever you read about (disturbances) are in the border areas and not around tourism destinations.
As to how do you go there, he said there is air link from New Delhi. If you go by rail from Kolkata you will have to take a cab from the railway station, after a 36-hour journey, to reach Srinagar.
We have accommodation there ranging from US$800 to US$15,000. We have all classes of hotels including budget hotels, not to forget our unique accommodation - our heritage, the houseboats.
Nazir A Mir felt Bangladesh was a very good market for Jammu and Kashmir tour operators. Bangladeshis visit India but are not that much aware of Kashmir. It's from last year that we are getting tourists from Bangladesh. We plan to do road show every year in Dhaka.
He suggested spending at least a week in Jammu and Kashmir for a decent visit. We offer tour packages to Bangladeshi tour operators who in turn offer those to their clients.
Asked about food, Mir said we have our own cuisine in Kashmir. It is called "Wazwan." It consists of nine to ten veg and similar number of non-veg dishes.
On how, they rate their wards' education here, Mir sad our students are getting the same cultural values. So, we chose to send them to Bangladesh.
Mir said, in Kashmir, Muslim culture is practiced. People of all the religions have the freedom to pray their respective religions.
We have a number of heritage mosque and shrines. At Hazratbal shrine one hair of our Prophet (PBUH) is there. We have Shah Hamdan Shrine, Gausul Azam Dastagir shrine. Tourists from Bangladesh can go and visit these places. We have pilgrim packages.
Asked about the best time of visit, Mir said the tourists can visit Kashmir in all the seasons. In winter they will see snowfall, in spring they will see beautiful flowers blooming everywhere. In autumn, there will be fresh fruits. Summer is also comfortable. It's 30 or 31 degrees, It's very nice.
Concluding, Nazir A Mir said, as far as my knowledge goes, Bangladeshis head abroad for holidays, some go as far as Switzerland. We invite them to visit Kashmir, they will find everything here.