SRINAGAR: Describing Kashmir as a premiere tourist destination, Advisor to the Governor, Khurshid Ahmed Ganai on Wednesday urged the tour and travel industry in the state to join hands in framing an effective strategy to change the negative perception which adversely affects the footfall of visitors in the valley.
He said Kashmir is as safe as any other tourist destination in the world, unlike the one projected by a section of the media.
Ganai said this while interacting with a delegation of PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry here, an official handout read.
Secretary Tourism, Rigzian Sampheal, Director Tourism Kashmir, Tassaduq Jeelani, Chairman, PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PHDCCI), J&K Chapter, Mushtaq Chaya and other representatives of PHDCCI were present on the occasion.
Seeking support from all stakeholders connected with the tour and travel industry in the state, Ganai said the efforts of the government would bear positive results “only, if we are able to break the negative stereotyping” that seems to have stuck with Kashmir for the last few years. “The proof of the pudding lies in the eating. Let you all form linkages with your counterparts in other states and invite them to FAM tours here,” Ganai suggested.
Urging the participants to recognise the reach of media, especially Doordarshan, the advisor said using the platform of Prasar Bharti will go a long way in portraying Kashmir in its right perspective.
Ganai also discussed in detail the steps being taken by the Tourism Department in increasing tourist arrivals in the state. He also invited suggestions on how the tour and travel industry could scale up and come up to the expectations of the travellers from across India and abroad, read the handout.
He revealed the tourism department was preparing to host a Kashmir festival in near future. Giving details regarding the festival, he said people affiliated with the tourism sector especially, tour operators, travel writers, and bloggers have been invited to get the first-hand appraisal of the situation in Valley and to assess how different the situation is than what a section of media was projecting, it further read.
He informed the PHDCCI delegation that in near future a delegation from state would also be travelling to major cities of India, including Gujrat, Maharashtra, Calcutta, Tamil Naidu to hold roadside shows, and interactions with major stakeholders, read the handout.
PHDCCI Kashmir Chapter delegation apprised the advisor with various issues and sought his intervention to address them at an earliest.
The delegation requested for implementation of government order to treat hotels and resorts at par with the industries for payment of power tariff. Besides, seeking reimbursement of SGST to hotels, restaurants, banquets, and travel companies, it sought taking up the case with GST Council for reimbursement of CGST to the hotels, restaurants, banquets and travel companies of the state, further read the handout.