Do more to promote Kashmir tourism, hoteliers tell govt

Do more to promote Kashmir tourism, hoteliers tell govt

SRINAGAR: The hoteliers and restaurant owners in Kashmir Valley Friday asked the state government to do more for promoting Kashmir tourism in India and abroad.
Stressing on the need for promotion of J&K’s untapped tourism potential, Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHARA), which is a representative body of hoteliers and restaurateurs, asked the state government to continue its promotional activities in all the states of India and outside.
“Department of Tourism has visited Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, and Jaipur over the past three months to attract visitors to Kashmir. This is a good sign for tourism industry of the state and the department should continue this promotional activity throughout the year,” KHARA’s Chairman, Showkat Chowdhary, said in a press statement issued here. He appreciated the efforts made so far by the department to make up for the losses inflicted on the industry by the last year’s floods.
“This is a good sign that department has visited Jaipur from where we see a less flow of tourists. We should not remain confined to Mumbai, Gujarat and Kolkata alone, wherefrom we already get a good number of tourists,” he said.
“Exploring other places will add to the number of tourists visiting the state. The road shows organised in Delhi also played a good role, and will help us get tourists from neighboring states like Punjab,” he added.
Highlighting the need to upgrade the infrastructure to have more high-end facilities available to the incoming tourists, KHARA’s Chairman appreciated the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s efforts to “invite investors”.
“We are receiving less high-end tourists due to limited accommodation for this segment. We can see influx of high-spending tourists only when we have good brands in hotel industry in Kashmir,” he said.
Chowdhary said the high-end infrastructure would also attract Bollywood to shoot more often in the Valley.
He said the CM, who is also the state’s Minister for Tourism, should “also squeeze time” for marketing campaigns, believing that his presence in the campaigns “will boost tourism industry in a big way”.
Tourism stakeholders, he said, should take advantage of having CM as the Tourism Minister who can take “big decisions at highest level” for the industry.
“…The CM has already taken decisions on attracting investors for chartered flights to Kashmir, helicopter services to Gulmarg, making registration process easy, and expediting works on the train to Kashmir. We are thankful to him for taking tourism-friendly decisions,” said Chowdhary, asking the government to take stakeholders on board while organising promotional activities outside the state.
“The tourism ministry should only facilitate a platform and act as a launching pad for marketing outside the state, while the stakeholders should themselves take part in such promotional activities and sell their properties,” he said.