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Multi-pronged strategy to make JK global tourist destinations:


Press Trust of India Jammu
Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister Tassaduq Hussain Mufti said today the state government had adopted a multi-pronged strategy to harness the tourism potential of the state and position it as the leading global destination.

He also gave details according to which during 2017, over 12.27 lakh tourists including foreigners visited Kashmir, over 9.22 lakh to Jammu and over 2.30 lakh to Ladakh region.

"The idea is to make tourism sector the principal engine of the state's economic growth," Mufti said winding up the discussion on demands for grants of tourism and allied departments for the year 2018-19.

In his maiden speech in the legislative Assembly, the minister, who is the brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said the government's endeavour was to frame a tourism policy for not just creating jobs but to ensure better livelihood for the people.

"We should not ignore the environmental consequences while creating infrastructure and exploring new destinations," he said and mentioned the emerging situation around Pyangong Lake, Ladakh and Sonamarg in Kashmir due to "uncontrolled human activities".

He stressed on the need to lay equal focus on waste management in environmentally fragile destinations.

"To achieve the set targets, the tourism department is working in a mission mode to make the state a destination that is natural in its environs, global in standards, modern in outlook, traditional in its hospitality, mystical in sensibilities and entertaining in its experience," he said.

The Minister said a self-sustained tourism model was envisioned and being implemented in all three regions of the state for inclusive socio-economic development and ensuring emergence of each region as an exclusive independent tourist destination.

He said an emphasis was being laid on creating durable assets in all the potential tourist spots of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

The Minister said under Prime Ministers Development Package (PMDP) funding, the department envisaged consolidation, creation and strengthening of existing infrastructure, bringing about quality facilities like amusement parks, golf courses, river cruises and food streets to attract both domestic and foreign high end tourists.

He said during 2017, over 12.27 lakh tourists including foreigners visited Kashmir, over 9.22 lakh to Jammu and over 2.30 lakh to Ladakh region.

In addition, 259581 pilgrim tourists visited Kashmir to pay obeisance at Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas and another over 81.70 lakh visited Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district.

To dispel the negative perception and restore the confidence of the intending tourist, he said the department is inclined to embark upon a force full campaign under which, it has come up with videos giving message to the people to visit state to experience its beauty and hospitality.

The video clip Kashmir, the warmth place on earth has become a social media sensation these days, Mufti said.

He said facilities are being created as a part of border tourism, while the department is also focusing on promoting adventure tourism by way of setting up of base camps, para gliding and water sports facilities.

Steps are also being taken to develop the un-explored areas of the state having huge tourism potential like Bungus valley, Lolab Valley, Tosa Maidan, Thajwas, Gurez and Tulail valley, Sinthan Top, area of Mughal road and others, he said.

Later the House passed the Grants of over Rs 557.46 crore for tourism department with a voice-vote.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 10:35 PM IST

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