With peace returning, State will witness an infrastructure boom
SRINAGAR: Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Monday laid the foundation of an ITC-owned hotel to be built on the existing historic Hotel Nedous at Maulana Azad Road Srinagar.
Seeking cooperation from the national media in changing the negative perception which according to him have plagued Kashmirs tourist industry, Mufti said:Tourism has to brace up for bigger challenges ahead, apparently referring to the dismal tourist inflow this year.
If we are able to attract big investment in the hospitality sector, the high-end tourism will get a huge fillip, he said. The ITC is expected to keep intact the heritage character of Hotel Nedous, which can become its unique selling proposition.
It has a prime location and I am sure that ITC will be able to create world-class facilities for inbound tourists with high-spending power, he said.
Referring to the strong influence of Iran and Central Asia on the culture and handicraft of Kashmir, Mufti Sayeed it was valleys unmatched scenic beauty that drove tourists to the place in large numbers.
During the British rule, Kashmir was promoted as an independent tourism destination, he said. Unfortunately, during militancy, the sector suffered a huge setback, which adversely affected the economy of the state.
Linking tourism to employment, the Chief Minister hoped that with advent of peace, the tourism industry will be able to bounce back.
Emphasizing upon building capacities in the tourism and hospitality sectors, the Chief Minister highlighted the need for sustained training of personnel associated with delivering hospitality services. I hope ITC Group will be engaging skilled workforce from within the valley once their hotels are up and running, he said.
Urging people to see Kashmir beyond the prism of Gulmarg and Pahalgam, Mufti Sayeed said there are several other idyllic destinations like Yusmarg, Dudpathri, Aharbal and Daksum that need to be promoted and brought onto the tourism map of the state.
The Chief Minister said that with peace returning, the state will witness an infrastructure boom for which skilled human resource is of paramount importance. I urge the doctors, engineers and businessmen who left when the state fell on hard times to return and play their role in its overall development, he added.
Former Chief Minister, Omar Abullah, among a galaxy of ministers, bureaucrats, and hoteliers attended the launch function.
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