SRINAGAR: Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Thursday inaugurated Pahalgam Club in a majestic new avatar to cater to the needs of high-spending visitors touring the state.
He had given a six-month deadline to the Tourism Department for completion of the long-delayed project.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Begum Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Minister for Horticulture, Hajj & Auqaf, A. R. Veeri, Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Altaf Bukhari and Minister for Transport, A. G. Kohli, at a gala function, which attracted countrys top names in media, film and business fraternity.
Immediately after inaugurating the Club-cum-International Convention Centre, the Chief Minister went around the premises and saw various facilities including auditorium, spa, swimming pool, bowling alley, gymnasium and luxury suites. Pahalgam will continue to mesmerize travelers and top filmmakers by its captivating charm and scenic beauty by becoming an all-season destination in near future, he promised.
Stressing upon diversifying into uncharted territory of travel industry, Mufti Sayeed favoured sending right vibes across tourism sector by adopting best practices in doing business and creating environment for better public-private interface. I have already issued directions for setting up a Single Window Mechanism headed by Secretary Tourism to speed up clearance of tourism-related proposals, the Chief Minister said.
Describing peace as a prerequisite for promotion of tourism, the Chief Minister stressed upon improving the holding capacity in valleys health resorts for high-end travelers, by providing access to benchmark facilities vis-a-vis accommodation, roads, communication and hospitality. Our high-end intake capacity is fairly low right now. We cannot think of increasing top-end footfall unless we provide visitors niche facilities that match global standards, he said, while referring to the huge ripple effect tourism industry can have on other segments like handicraft and cuisine.
Mufti Sayeed singled out tourism sectors potential in emerging as a fulcrum around which the states economy can rebound in a big way. Travel industry remains J&Ks biggest strength which offers plethora of opportunities in ever-expanding job market and handicraft sector, he added.
The Chief Minister stressed also upon augmenting room capacity for middle-rung tourists which, he said, contributes significantly to the tourism-related economy of the state. He, however, emphasized upon hoteliers and tour / travel operators to improve facilities to boost arrivals in peak tourist season.
Unveiling his plan to promote Pahalgam as an ideal winter destination, on the pattern of Gulmarg, the Chief Minister said the possibilities of introducing cable car will be explored and other elements like ice, roller skating and skiing will be launched to diversify tourism-related activities in Pahalgam, he said.
The Chief Minister appreciated the Tourism Department for completing the Pahalgam Club within the deadline given by him and hoped that this multi-faceted asset will be managed and maintained on a self-sustaining basis.
Constructed at a cost of Rs. 24 crore, the refurbished Pahalgam Club is a blend of traditional and modern architecture. It has 21 luxury suites, a state-of-the-art auditorium, conference and banquet halls, bowling alley, eating joints, gymnasium, swimming pool and an exclusive showroom for famed Kashmir Handicraft. The auditorium can double up as multiplex depending upon the needs of the occasion.
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