Kashmir Valley is not only known for its breathtaking sights and idyllic beauty, it is the people who warmly welcome tourists and go the extra mile to make guests comfortable during their stay. In recognition of the efforts of these many people, the Department of Tourism held a ceremony to commend 13 tourism icons who, because of their honest deeds, lived up to the valley’s famous hospitality.
The purpose of the ceremony was to highlight the contribution of stakeholders associated with the tourism industry who have demonstrated exemplary honesty, dedication and commitment to their profession and to serving tourists.
Tourism director Dr. GN Itoo told Rising Kashmir that the event was an effort to lift the spirits of those associated with the industry and encourage them. “The people of Kashmir have time and again reflected the acts of generosity and hospitality. To recognize these efforts, the department will organize such events on an annual basis,” Dr Itoo said.
Here is a brief profile of 13 people who, through their acts of honesty, have earned goodwill and a place in hearts.
In November 2017, the late Mohammad Sharief Chachi of Qazipora Tangmarg was working as a tour guide and accompanying a Malaysian group to visit Gulmarg. The group lost a bag full of Rs 40 lakh cash, but the honesty displayed by Late Chachi and his colleagues who helped seek the return to the Malaysian group has earned praise.
On behalf of the late Mohammad Sharief Chachi, his son Hilal Ahmed received a certificate, souvenir and shawl, while Ghulam Rasool Mir, then Chairman of the Tour and Guide Association Gulmarg and Tangmarg was also rewarded for his honest deed.
Reyaz Ahmed Deedar of Ferozepora Tangmarg has been praised for playing a major role in rescuing a tourist who fell unconscious while returning from a frozen lake in 2021.
Mohammad Rafiq Sheikh of Mahyou Tangmarg was praised for returning cash and gold worth Rs 15 lakh and four mobile phones to a tourist in 2015.
Firdous Ahmad Mir from Shutakari Sonamarg was rewarded for returning valuables with a bag to a tourist, while Irshad Ahmed Bhat from the same place was also rewarded for returning a cellphone to a tourist.
Rafi Ahmed Wani of Mondlana Pahalgam and Afroze Ahmed Mir were honored for returning jewelry to a tourist.
Showkat Ahmed Lone of pahalgam has been hailed for returning a lost bag to a tourist.
Nisar Ahmed of Natipora Srinagar has been rewarded for returning cash of Rs 3 lakh to a tourist at Srinagar International Airport.
Mohammad Ashraf Dar from Srinagar has been rewarded for returning Rs 1.80 lakh to a tourist.
Mohammad Iqbal Ganie of Humhama Budgam has been praised for returning Rs 1.96 lakh to a tourist.
Mohammad Shafi from Bemina Srinagar was rewarded for returning Rs 45,000 to a tourist.
Zubair Ahmed Bhat from Kralpora Srinagar was praised for returning a cell phone worth a lake.