In conversation with Haseeb Khan, Distant Holidays | SupportBiz

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In conversation with Haseeb Khan, Distant Holidays

Distant Holidays is a Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)-based tour organizer, which prides itself on the friendly relations that they maintain with their clients and their professional services. SupportBiz presents an exclusive conversation with Haseeb Khan, the Operations Manager of Distant Holidays, about tourism in J&K, running a business, and his best moments as an entrepreneur.

How long has Distant Holidays been in operation?

Distant Holidays was started in January 2005. So, we have been in operation for seven years now.

How did you come up with the idea of starting Distant Holidays?

Distant Holidays was started by Javed Khan, who, prior to that worked as a tour executive with Mercury Travels, a subsidiary of the Oberoi Group of Hotels. Having started his career in 1977, he had a vast experience of tourism in J&K, and he channelized all of his knowledge into his own venture, Distant Holidays.

J&K had been in a state of political turmoil for almost 20 years, right from the early 80s to the 2000s. After 2000, J&K started emerging as a tourist destination in all its glory, and it was a good time for Javed Khan to start this venture.

What are the major kinds of tours that you organize?

We offer a wide variety of tours – both medium-range and luxury – such as adventure tours, cultural tours, safari tours, golf tours, wildlife tours and conference tours. We operate both in J&K and Himachal Pradesh.

How many tours do you organize in a month?

In peak season i.e. from April to July, we organize about 100-150 tours a month, approximately. In the off-season, this number comes down to about 70-75 tours a month.

How big is your team, presently?

At the moment, we have a team of 16 people, including five drivers.

Do you think the tourist inflow in J&K has improved in recent years?

Yes, definitely. After 2000, we have seen an almost 100-150 percent growth in the tourists coming to J&K every year. We expect the upward trend to continue in the coming few years as well.

How is Distant Holidays different from other tour providers?

Unlike typical tour guides, we maintain a very professional and friendly relationship with our clients. We make sure that our clients have a comfortable holiday, and we are personally there for them to resolve all their problems, if any. We give equal attention to all our clients, irrespective of whether they are mid-range or luxury travelers.

What are the major challenges that you face?

J&K is becoming a popular tourist destination, after the political situation in the state stabilised in the 2000s. This put J&K back on the tourism map after a gap of nearly 20 years. There is a huge tourist inflow into the state every year, and the number is rising year after year. The state lacks the necessary infrastructure to sustain this kind of tourist inflow, though the situation is definitely improving. I would say this is our major challenge at the moment, but I am sure we will overcome it in a few years.

What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?

Whenever any client of ours goes back after a beautiful holiday, content and happy and relaxed, and with lots of good memories, I feel immensely satisfied as an entrepreneur. These moments make me feel the most proud that our job is well done.

What advice would you give to a potential entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur should believe in himself and in his business. He/she should exude confidence, particular in our industry. He/she should be passionate about their work, and should be business-ready all the time. They should be willing to give their business their all.

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