Srinagar: Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Tuesday said the government will explore possibilities of starting helicopter services to the famous tourist destinations in the state to attract high-end tourists as well as business firms for hosting conferences.
“The state will explore possibilities of starting helicopter services to tourist destinations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Aharbal, Daksum, Bangus and Patnitop to kickstart convention tourism with a focus on winter. We have holiday resorts with required infrastructure that can bring corporate houses and people with common business interests together at one place,” Sayeed said.
The chief minister was chairing a meeting here over breakfast with Arun Kandoo, Vice-President, The Rail Journey, an event organizer of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) Tourism.
Sayeed said the government would operationalise and incentivize chopper services to attract high-end tourists and business firms.
“We have to brace up and project Jammu and Kashmir as a premier winter destination through clubhouses and luxury resorts which provide facilities that compare with the best in the world,” he said.
The chief minister urged corporate world to come over and explore the facilities available for hosting high-end conferences at state’s leading holiday resorts.
“The government is concurrently focusing on the allied hospitality sector to professionally market the state as a high-end conference centre. We need to pan out conferences to places like Gulmarg, Patnitop and Pahalgam, especially in winter,” the Chief Minister said, asking state Tourism Department to focus on hosting conferences this winter.
He described exotic resorts of the state as future business centres for country’s corporate giants and identified MICE tourism as a window of opportunity for opening up new vistas in ever-expanding high-end travel market.
Referring to the steps taken by the government to create facilities for high-end travelers, the Chief Minister suggested dovetailing conference tourism with high-end sports like golfing and skiing, which are popular summer and winter sporting activities in leading tourist destinations.
“Gulmarg is an ideal ski resort, which is a very popular winter destination. Similarly, Pahalgam has by far the country’s most ideally-located golf course,” he said, emphasizing upon blending various aspects of travel industry to boost revenue generation.
The Chief Minister also placed high priority on showcasing the treasure trove of heritage assets which has been successfully projected by some other states of the country.
He mentioned the historic Maharaja Palace at Gulmarg in north Kashmir, being restored with expertise from INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), so that it is projected as an upmarket destination.
“People will love to stay there once the project is completed by Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) by November-end,” he said.