A good flow of tourists is visiting valley: Manzoor Pakthoon
Post by on Friday, July 1, 2022
Manzoor Pakthoon’s family is among the fourth generation who are serving in the tourism industry and currently owns five houseboats, a hotel currently non-functional, an outlet in Ladakh and a tour and travel business with major clientele from European countries.
Rising Kashmir’s Special Correspondent Jahangir Sofi speaks to Manzoor Pakthoon who is among the senior functionaries at the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) and also the vice-chairman of Houseboat owners Association Kashmir.
Tell us how and when you started your journey in the tourism industry?
Ours is the fourth generation in the tourism industry, this is how I am here though some of my life’s short stint was with the Kashmir art industry which somehow is also connected with the tourism industry. I started my career in this service industry during the early 90s and since then it has been going on.
How will you define‘tourism’ for a person like you?
For me, it is both passion and livelihood, and I do work with the fullest of efforts to meet the expectations of the end-user who is a tourist. For quality and service, I won’t compromise. This has been our goal to impart the best of the best services in the industry to our clients.
What kind of clientele do you have?
We majorly have clients who have been availing our services for a long time now and our major clientele is from the European nations. Our service domain also covers the clients from domestic circuits as well. It is the service which has retained our clients for years.
Did your business suffer due to the past uncertainty in the valley?
It has been a tough journey during the uncertainty and when you don’t have any business for months at your business establishment, the survival becomes tough as our livelihood is fully dependent on it. But with the creator’s grace the tough phase used to subside but survival became tough.
The government says the tourist footfall in the valley is all-time high, do you feel so?
There is no doubt that a good flow of tourists is visiting the valley, there is a significant change visible on the ground as far as the tourist footfall in the valley is concerned. But it is all about the retention of clients and about the delivery of services to visitors which I believe has to be worked upon. There are many others along with us in the tourism industry who never compromised on the services, but over the past sometimes I believe the service bar has gone down which needs to be worked upon,especially with the overseas clients which are very sensitive. You won’t get an instant reaction from them but they take it along which eventually makes an adverse impact.
You have been associated with leadership roles as well as representing trade and business bodies including the tourism industry, how do you see yourself in this role?
With passing times more responsibilities and roles come in life, and so has been mine, apart from the conventional home leadership role which I think everyone goes through, I had an opportunity to extend my contribution to the travel trade, business and tourism industry in various roles enabling me to raise the voice and genuine concerns of my industry at government quarters. And thankfully so far have been successful in meeting the expectations of my people who have repeatedly posed trust and belief in me.