Kashmir is as safe as any other tourist destination in world: Advisor Ganai

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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 the valley.

He said Kashmir is as safe as any other tourist destination in world, unlike the one projected by a section of the media.

The Advisor said this while interacting with a delegation of PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry, here today.

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 recognize 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 can scale up and come up to the expectations to the travelers from across the country and abroad.

The Advisor revealed the tourism department is 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 assess how different the situation is than what a section of media is projecting.

He informed the PHDCCI delegation that in near future that a delegation from State would also be travelling to major cities of the country, including Gujrat, Maharashtra, Calcutta, Tamil Naidu to hold roadside shows, and interactions with major stakeholders.

Earlier, the PHDCCI Kashmir Chapter delegated 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, they were also seeking reimbursement of SGST to hotels, restaurants, banquets, and travel companies, in addition of taking up the case with GST Council for reimbursement of CGST to the hotels, restaurants, banquets and travel companies of the State.

The meeting was informed that PHDCCI Kashmir Chapter is intending to organize, PHD Golf Tourism Conclave and Tournament from September 22-23, 2018 at SKICC, which will be attended by Ministry of Tourism Officials, Embassies and High Commissions, Indian and Foreign Golf tour operators, State and International Tourism Boards, Hoteliers, and others.

Seeking support of the Government in the endeavor, the delegation said the objective of organizing the event is to promote the Golf courses across India, especially of the State and to boost the tourism sector of the State.

The delegation also raised other issues related education, social welfare, revenue, horticulture, horticulture and animal husbandry.

The Advisor listened to their issues patiently and assured that all the issued will be looked into and will be forwarded to the concerned departments for their early disposal.

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