Srinagar: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday asked the tourism fraternity of the country to come forward and help in further improving tourist footfall in the State which she said leads to enhanced people to people contact.
Inaugurating the 64th convention of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) here this evening, the Chief Minister described tourism as the best means of people to people dialogue adding that every effort in this regard would be an investment in peace. She said tourism helps build bridges among people which ultimately leads to minimizing alienation or misgivings about each other.
The three day TAAI convention is being held at Srinagar after a gap of 31 years. The last TAAI convention was held here in 1987.
Appealing the members of country’s tourism industry to clear the negative perceptions about Jammu & Kashmir in their respective markets, Mehbooba Mufti said the State has gone through a phase of enormous violence during the last three decades or so for which people here need a healing touch which tourism sector alone can provide. “Government alone cannot do that, you have to do partnership with us”, she told the delegates.
The people here, the Chief Minister in her emotional appeal said, have been the victims of tough times of the past which bruised them immensely but have remained unmatched in their hospitality and warmth. She said while the place may be called as the warmest place on earth (referring to a video recently shot) but it also dons the crown of being safest place for women. She appealed the delegates not to leave the strings of today’s bond midway and come next time with their families so that they themselves experience the warmth, hospitality and the situation of the State.
The Chief Minister said every region of the State offers unique attraction to tourists of every kind. She said she has asked the Department to devise packages for every segment-youth, old, newlywed, nature lovers, conservation activists, students of society so that its multi dimensional facet is explored properly.
Mehbooba Mufti complimented the Tourism Department and tour and travel fraternity for working together to make the convention possible. She asked the delegates to roam around and check for themselves the veracity of reports as displayed by a section of electronic media about the State.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister gave away awards to leaders in different segments of the industry in the country.
Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Mufti in his address said Jammu & Kashmir provides a varied attraction to tourists in terms of the regions, cultures and cuisines. He said while promoting tourism the stakeholders have to act as guardians and conservationists for the preservation of the same. He said today’s TAAI convention offers hope to the members of tourism industry of the State.
Minister of State for Tourism, Priya Sethi also addressed the inaugural function and outlined the uniqueness of the State in providing niche tourism attractions to every segment of society.
Other key speakers on the inaugural function included Sunil Kumar, President, TAAI and Aditya Gosh, President, Indigo Airlines.
It may be mentioned here that due to the persistent efforts of the Government to promote State’s tourism, travel and tourism fraternity across the country and outside got encouraged to hold their convention at Srinagar which they have been holding for the past ten years outside the country.
Ministers, Abdul Rehman Veeri, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Abdul Haq Khan, Syed Altaf Bukhari; legislators; senior executives of TAAI; members of travel and tourism fraternity of the country; senior officers of Divisional administration and Tourism Department attended the inaugural function of the three day convention.