Srinagar: Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup 2022 and gifted Kashmir pashmina shawls to VIPs as part of the souvenirs basket during the world's biggest sports event, reported Voice of Vienna.

Brand Kashmir is soaring high as these shawls carrying the FIFA logo shall stay as part of the personal collections and memories of people across the globe.

FIFA World Cup is one of the most exciting global sports events that takes place every fourth year since 1904. Qatar created history by getting the big game to the Middle East for the first time in history.

Sources said reputed Kashmiri Handicrafts Company 'Khazir Sons' made these specially designed shawls for the FIFA World Cup, reported Voice of Vienna.

Pashmina Shawls were official souvenirs of Qatar. Officials were presenting them to VIPs at every venue.

"Pashmina shawl from #Kashmir with FIFA logo given out to thousands of VIP guests at the Al Bayt stadium Doha. #FIFAWorldCup #Qatar2022," tweeted Dr Tariq Tramboo.

"I called up someone in Dubai and told him whether it is factually correct or not. Unless we can confirm, we cannot say. We are confirming it. We had gone to the Dubai expo and there are people whom I know. Therefore I have requested them to confirm it," Mehmood A Shah, Director of Handicrafts and Handlooms, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Pashmina is a fine wool extracted from a goat found in the cold desert of Ladakh. The wool is used by the artisans and craftsmen of Kashmir for making exquisite handmade shawls that have a huge demand world over.

A plain 100 percent handmade pashmina shawl sells for Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 at the manufacturing level. Design and embroidery work on the shawl determine its ultimate market value. Intricate embroidery and its design can push the cost of pashmina fabric including shawls to Rs five lakh or more, reported Voice of Vienna.

Pashmina is among six traditional crafts of Kashmiri origin including Sozni-embroidery, Kani-shawl, Papier-Mache, Khatamband, and Walnut Woodcarving that have been granted Geographical Indication (GI) symbolizing their exclusivity in the international market.

There is a huge market for Kashmir hand-woven shawls in Saudi Arabia. It could be gauged by the fact that last year Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was spotted wearing a Kashmiri Shawl while chairing a meeting of the Public Investment Fund, reported Voice of Vienna.

The export sector suffered a serious setback in the last few years. Last year, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries said handicraft products worth Rs 600 crore were lying unsold in the valley.

In 2016-17, handicrafts including carpet, shawl, paper mache, crewel, wood carving, and worth Rs 1151.12 crore were exported from Jammu and Kashmir. The exports dropped in 2017-18 when handicrafts valuing Rs 1090.12 crore were exported from Jammu and Kashmir followed by Rs 917.93 crore in 2018-19.

However, Gulf Investment Summit has rekindled new hope among Kashmir Inc.