Appealing all stakeholders of tourism industry in the State to join heads and help in clearing the negative perception about Jammu and Kashmir in some sections of the National media, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that tourism Industry needs to be reinvigorated back.
Chairing the 2nd meeting of Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) here today, the Chief Minister said the need of the hour is that the tourists wishing to visit the State be told about the State in real and accurate terms who unfortunately have fallen prey to a viciously negative campaign launched about the State. She said she has maintained that tourism is the best way to promote people to people dialogue and tourists back home are the biggest brand ambassadors of the trade and the State.
The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Tourism, Priya Sethi; former Union Tourism Secretary, Parvez Dewan; Principal Secretary to Governor and former Chairman-cum-MD, ITDC, Umang Narula; Secretary Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah; Vice Chairman, J&K Tourism Development Corporation, Rafi Ahmad Mir and Mohammad Salim Beigh, Member, National Monuments Authority of India.
The Chief Minister impressed upon the tourism players to further diversify their portfolio and include such attractions in their packages which can enhance the tourist footfall to the State. She suggested that conference tourism be explored for its potential and asked the Tourism Department and industry players to jointly explore this idea and integrate it with other tourist activities. Similarly, she advised prioritizing golfing to attract high end tourists to the State.
Mehbooba Mufti said the scope of religious tourism in Kashmir has not yet been exploited and suggested linking all the shrines and ancient mosques and Khanqahs to generate a niche tourist footfall.
During the meeting, the TAB also deliberated upon the draft Tourism Policy and it was decided that a meeting of stakeholders be held to further seek their suggestions and views.
The meeting was informed that the budgetary support to Tourism Department over the last two years has been considerably enhanced. The Department during the last year conducted around 15 road shows in collaboration with the representatives of tourism industry in the State, the meeting was told. The meeting was also informed that the Department is in the process of joining hands with JK Bank to promote the State through their outlets.
Director Tourism, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah; Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, Lalit Group of Hotels; Mushtaq Ahmad Burza from Ahad Group of Hotels & Resorts; Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya of Grand Mumtaz Group; Omar Tramboo of Khyber Resorts & Spa; Bharat Choudhary of KC Residency; Mohammad Ibrahim Siyah, President, TASK; Hardeep Singh Anand from Hotel Asia, Jammu; Ghulam Rasool Siah, President, Houseboat Owners Association; Rahul Choudhary, Member, CII and other members of TAB were also present in the meeting.