Monday, April 20, 2009

Internet can boost tourism potential of J&K: Jora

Minister for Tourism and Culture Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora has said that tourism is the backbone of State’s economy, adding that this sector has tremendous employment potential linked with its handicrafts, handlooms and carpet weaving, which have carved out a niche at the international level. He said State government has initiated various measures for promotion of tourism sector for attracting global tourists at a large scale.
The Minister said this while launching FLYWITHKRRISH, a Jammu-based travel portal, here today.
The portal will provide online booking for air and rail travel and car rentals as well as instant e-bookings of hotel rooms, which will greatly facilitate tourists visiting the State. The portal also offers other features like easy payment system, tour packages, insurance cover and foreign exchange to the domestic and foreign tourists.  
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Jora said that J&K has now emerged as a hot tourist destination for overseas tourists by opening of international airport at Srinagar. He exhorted upon tour and travel operators to act as envoys of their respective states to encourage people to visit J&K this season and enjoy its serene environs.
The Minister welcomed the opening of the travel portal and hoped that it will go a long way in promoting tourism in the State, adding that it will provide tourists with an opportunity to book their online packages on the Internet.
Outlining the importance and potential of tourism in Jammu region, the Minister said that it posses a huge captive market of pilgrim tourists that visit the region round the year. He, however, asked for diverting these tourists to other scenic spots of the region, adding various Tourist Development Authorities have been created in this regard. “We have upgraded facilities at TDAs to facilitate tourists,”, Mr. Jora said, adding that Mughal Road would also play a key role in increasing tourism potential of the area. He said equitable development of tourism sector in all the three regions should remain the main aim. 
Mr. Jora said that tour and travel operators have played a commendable role in the revival of tourism sector in the State and hoped that this symbiotic relationship between the government and the operators will continue in the coming tourist season also.
The Minister further said that tourism sector has tremendous employment potential and need of the hour is to involve more youth in setting up of income- generating units under this sector. He said various innovative schemes have been launched under which loans and financial assistance is being provided to the unemployed educated youth, besides diploma and degree courses in food management and other tourism-related courses have also been started.
The Minister said the situation has now improved and asked for more positive media coverage for the State.
The Minister directed tourism functionaries down the hierarchy to work with dedication and zeal so that targets set under the sector are achieved in toto. 
MLA, Gandhinagar, Raman Bhalla, who was the guest of honour on the occasion, also addressed the gathering.