Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti addresses ITM at Jammu

Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti described tourism as an important means of people to people dialogue adding that it gives ample opportunities to people to know each other better and closely. She however, regretted the negative portrayal of the State by certain outside media outlets.
Addressing the delegates of India Travel Mart (ITM), India’s Leading International Travel & Tourism Exhibition at Convention Centre, Jammu. The Chief Minister said there is no better mechanism to let the outsiders know of the State, its people and the situation on their own than the tourism sector. That is why, she said, every tourist visit to the State is a step towards peace.
Asking the Tourism Department and tour operators to work together for improving the tourist footfall to the State, the Chief Minister said the impression about the State would improve consequentially with more and more tourist arrivals as they would be judging the place for themselves rather than relying on newsroom discussions of some news channels.
Mehbooba Mufti said that it is true that Jammu Kashmir is having certain political issues but the hospitable nature of its people was never given proper and appropriate coverage. She recalled how a boatman in Dal recently rescued a tourist family when his boat capsized and in the process got himself drowned and how some injured Amarnath Yatris were treated by local people during the last few difficult months. But these things were not reflected appropriately, she remarked with regret. She said some media channels unfortunately created gory pictures on both the sides and tourism is the best way to bridge this gap.
Terming the vision of late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed about Jammu & Kashmir as the cornerstone of her Government, the Chief Minister said the late leader believed that peace was imperative for development of the State and for that dialogue and discourse was a must. She said the aim of the late leader was to bring closer hearts and minds of people of the three regions of the state when he thought of making the Government in 2014. His aim was to unite people and regions and not divide them, she said.
Mehbooba Mufti said if peace and development in J&K is so desired it can be fulfilled only by following the vision and dream of the late leader and assured the delegated that whatever he had conceptualized for tourism promotion in the State would be accomplished by the present Government with all seriousness. She said ambitious projects like border tourism, Ranjit Sagar Dam, Tawi lake etc. in Jammu province would be pursued.
Giving some food for thought to the delegates, the Chief Minister asked them to sit down and see how Jammu & Kashmir can be marketed in tourism industry for every section of society. Why can’t we have some separate packages for adventure seekers, pilgrimage seekers, women and girls as J&K has remained safest on women’s security count.
Mehbooba Mufti said tourist infrastructure needs more and more upgradation and it needs to be made Nature friendly while providing the guests all the requisite facilities. She said the Centre has allocated sufficient funds for tourism development in the State and hoped that in the coming months and years tourist infrastructure would be upgraded exponentially.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister distributed 4th ITCTA International Travel & Tourism Awards among the winners. In his address, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh hailed the vision and developmental concept of late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed for the state and said for the first time the people in every region felt that here was a Government which represented his or her aspirations.
The Deputy Chief Minister assured the delegates that the present Government with the cooperation from the Centre has planned a massive development initiative for the State and referred to the up gradation of Jammu airport which was done in a short span of time.
Secretary, Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah gave an overview of the tourist development projects in the state.
Earlier, top industry leaders of the country including Mr Subhash Goel, Mr P P Khanna and Mr Akshay Kumar also addressed the gathering and assured the State Government of their support in promoting tourism. They also hailed the vision and plan of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for promoting tourism in the State.
Minister of State for Tourism Priya Sethi, Minister for Cooperatives, T Dorjey, Director Tourism Sushma Chauhan, senior officers of State administration besides representatives of Tourism Departments of many states, tour and travel bodies were present in the inaugural function of the three day event.

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