Addressing the delegates of India Travel Mart (ITM), India’s Leading International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (ITM) at Convention Centre, Jammu, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir described tourism as an important means of people to people dialogue adding that it gives ample opportunities to people to know each other better and closely. She however, regretted the negative portrayal of the State by certain outside media outlets.
The Chief Minister also said there is no better mechanism to let the outsiders know of the State, its people and the situation on their own than the tourism sector. That is why, she said, every tourist visit to the State is a step towards peace.
Asking the Tourism Department and tour operators to work together for improving the tourist footfall to the State, the Chief Minister said the impression about the State would improve consequentially with more and more tourist arrivals as they would be judging the place for themselves rather than relying on newsroom discussions of some news channels. She said ambitious projects like border tourism, Ranjit Sagar Dam, Tawi lake etc. in Jammu province would be pursued.
Giving some food for thought to the delegates, the Chief Minister asked them to sit down and see how Jammu & Kashmir can be marketed in tourism industry for every section of society. Why can’t we have some separate packages for adventure seekers, pilgrimage seekers, women and girls as J&K has remained safest on women’s security count.
Ms. Mehbooba Mufti said tourist infrastructure needs more and more upgradation and it needs to be made Nature friendly while providing the guests all the requisite facilities. She said the Centre has allocated sufficient funds for tourism development in the State and hoped that in the coming months and years tourist infrastructure would be upgraded exponentially.
In his address, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh hailed the vision and developmental concept of late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed for the state and said for the first time the people in every region felt that here was a Government which represented his or her aspirations.
The Deputy Chief Minister assured the delegates that the present Government with the cooperation from the Centre has planned a massive development initiative for the State and referred to the up gradation of Jammu airport which was done in a short span of time.
Secretary, Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah gave an overview of the tourist development projects in the state.
Earlier, top industry leaders of the country including Mr Subhash Goel, Mr P P Khanna and Mr Akshay Kumar also addressed the gathering and assured the State Government of their support in promoting tourism. They also hailed the vision and plan of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for promoting tourism in the State.
Minister of State for Tourism Ms. Priya Sethi, Minister for Cooperatives, Mr T Dorjey, Director Tourism Ms. Sushma Chauhan, senior officers of State administration besides representatives of Tourism Departments of many states, tour and travel bodies were present in the inaugural function of the three day event.