Kashmir goldmine of unexplored tourism potential: Akhtar

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‘Govt to focus on promotion of eco, heritage tourism’

SRINAGAR:  Reiterating the commitment of the Government to promote the unexplored tourist destinations in Jammu and Kashmir, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar has said J&K’s tourism potential has immense scope for growth and the same would be fully harnessed through multifaceted approach.

Addressing an impressive gathering of dignitaries at “J&K Travel Mart-2015” being organized by the Tourism Department at SKICC here, the Minister said the Government will focus on the promotion of eco-tourism, village tourism, adventure tourism and heritage tourism, which have remained unexplored. He said Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has already expressed his commitment to promote all the unexplored areas of tourism potential across the State and a roadmap for the same has already been given shape.

Seeking help of all stakeholders to make Jammu and Kashmir the most preferred tourism destination, the Minister said the Government will create conducive environment for all categories of tourist players. He said the Chief Minister himself visited Mumbai to invite the film makers to re-invent Kashmir for shooting, for which the Government will facilitate them fully. He said Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Yousmarg are the world famous tourist destinations, which will be further equipped with high-end tourism infrastructure.

Referring to the unexplored potential of Srinagar city, Naeem said that Srinagar is the goldmine of unexplored heritage tourism where age old shrines of sufi saints are existing in their original form. The Government will focus on developing heritage, village, adventure and eco-tourism with the active involvement of local people. The move will attract large number of tourists from various parts of the world, which will give a boost to the economic activities as also generate job opportunities, said the Minister.

He expressed gratitude to the gests for evincing keen interest in Jammu and Kashmir and said the event will go a long way in disseminating the message about the environment of the State in the other parts of the world. He called upon the Department of Tourism to make constant efforts to organize such events which provide opportunities to the stakeholders to exchange their ideas on the promotion of tourism and filling the gaps. He hoped that a large number of tourists will visit Jammu and Kashmir this year in the changed environment.

Director Tourism, Kashmir, Farooq Shah deliberated on the initiatives which the Government has taken for promotion of tourism. He said main focus of the Department is to strengthen the tourist infrastructure suiting to the taste of visitors and promoting sustainable tourism like eco-tourism, village tourism, heritage tourism, adventure/Golf tourism and revival of water bodies in the Valley to attract the tourists. He said that the Tourism Department has launched a grand awareness campaign for the promotion of tourist activities in the Kashmir Valley, especially after the September floods which had created a different picture. The efforts of the Department have shown positive results and more and more tourists are approaching for the bookings.

Giving details about the event, Mr. Shah said in the 3-day J&K Travel Mart, over 180 domestic and 20 international buyers are participating and have put up their informative outlets. He hoped that the event will open new avenues for the stakeholders in promotion of tourism and Valley will witness influx of tourists throughout the year. He expressed his gratitude to the participants for gracing the occasion.

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