Vested interests deteriorated Kashmir tourism: Secretary Tourism
Srinagar: Government on Wednesday said that some “vested interests” were hell bent to deteriorate tourism sector of Kashmir.
Terming tourism as backbone of the state’s economy, Secretary Tourism, J&K, Sarmad Hafeez, said that vested interests intended to “deteriorate” the tourism sector of the Valley.
“Tourism sector has been badly hit in Kashmir. There were some people who did not want that this sector should progress,” Hafeez said.
He said that now the government has tried hard to bring back the tourism sector on track.
Secretary Tourism further said that Tourism Department was holding road shows in and outside the country to negate the perception that Kashmir was not a “safe destination” for tourists.
“We want to promote the Kashmir tourism, which is best known for destinations and hospitality,” he said.
In the next two months, he said that 20 Travel Mart marches and road shows would be conducted in various parts of the world to promote tourism of the state.
“They will also be held in Malaysia and Thailand. Recently we took tourism players in various states for promotion of tourism, which was a big success,” he said.
The Secretary Tourism said that local facilities have to be improved and new destinations are being explored.
“We are providing all facilities to tourists who take Gulmarg Gondola ride. Tourist destinations are also being lighting up.”
During 2016-2017, he said that the Gulmarg Gondola generated revenue of Rs 38 lakhs till December. While during 2017-2018 till December, Rs 1.53 crore was earned through Gulmarg Gondola, he revealed.
He said that safety measures have also been improved there.
He said a promotional video for tourism was seen over 20 million people. “Video of all destinations are being made through drone cameras.”
He said that Tourism Department has retrieved 68 kanals of land from ITDC at Gulmarg.
He said that Centre has released Rs 400 crore to JK under PMDP scheme for promotion of tourism and exploring new destinations.
“We want to make it sure that Kashmir is a safer place for the tourists,” he added.
(With inputs from KNS)