Wednesday, October 21, 2009

JK Govt determined to revive old tourist glory of State: Omar

*Eastern and Central Asian countries emerging as new tourist catchment areas for the state

*Role of lacks of people associated with tourism pivotal to rebuild the infrastructure

“Tourism is the back bone of the economy of the Jammu and Kashmir State and the glorious historical role of people of Kashmir to give new dimension to world tourism is hard reality and same cannot be erased by few adverse incidents which crippled this industry during last two decades”, said Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah while interacting with representatives associated with tourism sector at an impressive function held at Grand Palace organized by Travel Agents Society of Kashmir.

Omar Abdullah agreed with the representative of tourist trade that rumours spread and exaggerated through international media regarding presence of Taliban in Kashmir has affected tourist arrivals to some extent but at the same time he complimented Tourism Minister Mr. Rigzin Jora for holding press conference recently at TRC and refuting these rumours vehemently. He said this press communication helped at National and International level to restore the confidence of the tourist destined to come to Kashmir valley.

On the occasion, Minister for Tourism Mr. Jora, Minister of State for Toruism, Mr. Nasir Aslam Wani, Political Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. Davinder Rana, Secretary Tourism Ms. Tanveer Jehan, Director Information Mr. Farooq Renzu, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar Mr. Mehraj Kakroo, Director Tourism, Farooq Shah, President Travel Agents Society, Kashmir Mr. Abdul Khaliq Wangnoo, Mr. Mubin Sha, Mr. Nazir Bakshi and other distinguished personalities from tourism, Industries and Commerce and Media were present.

Mr. Omar Abdullah said that he is himself daily monitoring the arrival position of the tourists and he has himself detected that now flow of tourists arriving from our own country, neighboring countries, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, other eastern countries and Central Asia, is increasing, While as, tourist arrival graph from west is simultaneously showing sharp decline. He said this is the time for tourism department to concentrate on this shift of tourist flow and play its role in attracting people from these countries by launching publicity campaign.

During the interaction, the Chief Minister said that livelihood of lakh of people is associated with this trade. He further stated that during last two decades this industry was worst hit as a result of which not only big houses associated with this trade but the tour operators, hotel owners, shikara and Houseboat owners, artisans associated with handicrafts, cottage industry received colossal economic setbacks. Therefore time has come to rebuilt our tourist infrastructure in such a manner so that besides having international compatibility this sector shall be able to regain all the losses which this industry has suffered during recent past.

Mr. Omar said that with more introduction of innovative winter tourism games in Gulmarg and exploring new destinations for the same, state government is poised to make the J&K State round the year tourist destination. He said that once tourist flow increases maximum number of flights can be attracted to operate between various destinations to the state which will help in boosting our economy. He said that he has found positive trends during current year as maximum investors are coming forward to enrich tourist infrastructure in the state so that we are able to provide accommodation to large chunk of people.

The Chief Minister also said that Tourism Development Authorities throughout the state are being augmented not only to develop their respective tourist areas but also attract tourists to these new destinations. He said that he has himself visited various newly created Tourist Destination Areas and shall be visiting other new tourist destinations so that they are developed on modern lines. He said that we have to acknowledge that God has made our state as the real heaven on earth and it is responsibility of all of us to preserve this piece of heaven in its originality and help all intending tourists to fully enjoy this God given treasure so that they return with good impression and spread the same like our own ambassadors of tourism.

The Chief Minister also said that our Golf Tourism has started attracting international golfers as our Royal Spring Golf Course is one of the best Golf courses in the world. The continuous golf tournaments which are being played in this course has helped us in projecting beauty of the state in a better manner. However, Tourism Department has to work further in their publicity campaign as other states do.