‘Efforts on to promote tourism to generate employment’

‘Efforts on to promote tourism to generate employment’

Secy tourism holds maiden interactive meeting with travel agents, hoteliers

SRINAGAR: In his maiden meeting with travel trade and hospitality sector on Wednesday evening here at SKICC, Secretary Tourism M H Malik said the department of tourism is an important sector for the state which provides employment to lakhs of people and stressed on countering negative media campaign and perception among travelers about Kashmir.
In an official statement issued here, M H Malik was quoted saying the department of tourism would make all out efforts to promote tourism sector so that more employment is generated and to give fillip to the economy.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah, Deputy Director Publicity Peerzada Zahoor besides heads of the travel and hotel associations attended the meeting.
Secretary Tourism also highlighted importance of promoting farm tourism. He said 2017 has already been announced as Apple Year by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the department would promote the apple orchards of the Valley as tourism products.
“We will have special apple orchards enroute famous resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam so that tourists can visit these orchards,” Malik said.
During the interaction, the travel trade fraternity raised many issues confronting them while providing services to tourists.
The issues of rate fixation of taxis at tourist places, unnecessarily stopping the tourist vehicles at many places, negative media publicity of national electronic media were thoroughly discussed.
They also demanded promotion of adventure tourism, creation of tourism related infrastructure, holding of road shows at national and international markets, providing hassle free NOCs (no objection certificates) for renovation and repair works of hotels and houseboats, upgradation of tourism infrastructure, promotion of MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conventions, and Exhibitions), film and golf tourism, organizing of FAM (familiarisation) tour for travel agents and media persons, adequate tourist police at tourist resorts to avoid overcharging.
Secretary tourism assured the travel trade fraternity that he would try to address all the issues on priority basis.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah informed the Secretary that the department has already conducted FAM tour for media persons drawn from different states who work with newspapers published in regional languages.
He urged travel trade fraternity to participate in all these upcoming marts and sell their products, assuring that the department would continue inviting travel agents and media persons on FAM tour so they promote tourism products.

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