CHENNAI: Inviting people from South India to experience the “real Jammu & Kashmir”, Minister of State (MoS) for Tourism Priya Sethi said the state offers an array of facilities to cater to every type of tourism needs of the visitors – be it business, adventure or religious tourism.
The minister was speaking at a seminar and press meet on J&K tourism organised here by the Department of Tourism J&K in collaboration with J&K Tourism Alliance, an official handout read.
According to the handout, the seminar is a part of the series of road shows organised by the department to promote J&K as a destination to travellers from South India.
“People have apprehensions about visiting Kashmir, but I must tell you that Jammu and Kashmir is one of the safest tourism destinations,” the minister affirmed.
Welcoming the tourism tie-up between J&K and Tamil Nadu, Priya Sethi said that the national tourism promotional programme ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ has provided both the states a platform to support each other in promoting tourism. She also invited corporate houses to hold their conventions and meetings at J&K, saying the “state has the finest properties” to host such events, the handout read.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Tourism Sarmad Hafeez gave an overall overview of the J&K tourism products. He highlighted the distinct features of all the three regions of the state. Secretary tourism also quoted the recently released report of National Crime Records Bureau which has stated that “no crime was recorded against tourists whether foreign or local in Jammu and Kashmir”.
“J&K is an extremely safe destination for women travelling alone. The feedback from women travellers from all over has been tremendous with respect to how safe they felt there”, he added. Sarmad Hafeez said J&K state is diverse in every aspect – be it culture, handicraft, cuisine, landscape, religion or architecture.
“J&K is a complete package for a traveller to experience variety in one state,” he said, adding, “the state is home to many famous gardens and heritage sites”. Secretary tourism who is also the MD Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) said the corporation has already announced 50 percent rebate on all its properties across J&K.
“The hoteliers and the hotel associations have also announced rebate on their properties which can be availed on holiday packages to Kashmir,” said Sarmad Hafeez.
He said the road show in Chennai will help build a strong relationship between J&K and Tamil Nadu. “People of Tamil Nadu have always had a special place in our hearts as we share the qualities of warmth and hospitality which are so dear to us”, he added. Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah also spoke on the occasion and said that tourist flow to J&K for South India has seen “an increase this year” and hoped for this trend to continue in future.
On the occasion, the department also screened many Tamil movies shot in Kashmir over the past two decades. Scores of travel agents, hoteliers and houseboat owners from all the three regions of the J&K participated in the tourism show which was also attended by over 100 leading tour operators of Tamil Nadu State, the handout further read.
The travel agents on the occasion expressed their willingness to promote JK which, they said, has huge attraction among travellers in South India. The department also organised a road show and press meet at Bangalore and is organising another road show and seminar at Hyderabad today, the handout added.