Inaugurates Shikara festival, Flags off Shikara ride
Jammu and Kashmir News
SRINAGAR SEPTEMBER 27: Minister for R&B, Gardens, Parks and Floriculture, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari has said that peace and tranquility are important factors for promotion of tourism, adding that no stone will be left unturned for creation of world standard infrastructure and human resources, besides quality road connectivity to tourist destinations in the State.
The Minister was addressing at a function organized in connection with celebrations of “World Tourism Day” by Tourism Department at SKICC today.
This years’ theme is “1 billion tourists, 1 billion opportunities”.
Former VC, Kashmir University Prof. Sidiq Wahid, Secretary Tourism, Farooq Ahamd Shah, Special Secretary Tourism, CEOs of various Tourism Development Authorities (TDAs), senior officers of Tourism department, representatives from various associations relating to tourism sector were also present on the occasion.
The Minister said that Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Syed is keen in promotion of tourism sector and desirous to make the State best tourist destination in the world. He said Chief Minister has asked the authorities of Tourism Department to prepare a master plan of every tourist destination so that future infrastructure is developed in a planned manner that too without fiddling ecological and environment aspects of the area.
Syed Altaf said that Chief Minister has invited people from other parts of the country to see the real picture of Kashmir. He said that negative publicity has damaged the tourism sector during past 25 years in the State. He said Media has great role in promotion of tourism sector and asked the media fraternity to contribute for this cause.
The Minister said that the ‘Theme’ is a target oriented subject and requires lot of introspection, planning and implementation. He said that Jammu and Kashmir being jewel in the crown of tourism sector of India cannot be denied its due share. He said United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Data provide an encouraging picture of overall world tourism scenario.
Syed Altaf said that the tourism and tourist has a long history and the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been part of tourism activities since long but after independence tourism sector experienced a considerable growth. He said that India ranks 42nd for foreign tourism arrival in United Nations Tourism organization ranking with 1.56 % share in overall tourist traffic.
The Minister said that the state has bestowed with natural beauty and has potential to attract more and tourists. He said tourism has been diversified and coming out of traditional tourist activities. He said besides sports, recreational, pilgrim, health and other related activities, tourism has opened market for handicrafts, agri-tourism where high-end agriculture, horticulture and floriculture activities are being made part of tourism trade.
Syed Altaf said that domestic tourism contributes three fourth of tourism economy of our country and tourist trade is third largest foreign exchange earning sector in India. He said that tourism trade data in India reveals that in the year 2012 tourism sector has contributed 6.6 percent to country’s GDP and is expected to grow at an average rate of 7.9% annually till 2023 making India the third fastest growing tourism related destination.
Underlining the need for promoting group tourism, Prof. Wahid said that tourists must be given real picture of the State, its geographical and cultural history. He said it is our duty to make the tourist enjoy at every place they visit and treat them as guests. He said the need is to launch a credible campaign to attract more and more tourists to the State.
Secretary Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah, while speaking on the occasion, said that all stakeholders have to work together for promotion of tourism in the State. He said creation of tourism related infrastructure is necessary for increasing carrying capacity of tourists in the State. He said promotion of tourism is the dream of the Chief Minister, adding that the initiatives taken in this direction are yielding encouraging results.
Besides releasing a logo on the eve of ‘World Tourism Day’, the Minister also inaugurated Shikara Festival followed by flagging off the Shikara ride.
Later, a conference on subject was also held in Winter hall of SKICC in which experts, journalists, hoteliers, tour and travel operators and houseboat owners participated.
Meanwhile, the Minister also distributed certificates among the students who completed short term training course organized by the Indian Institute of Hotel Management aimed to increase the employability.
Among others, former Directors General Tourism Mohammad Saleem Baig and Ashraf Batkoo, Journalist Shujat Bukhari, Masoud Hussain and Dr. Ravi also participated in it. The speakers throw light on the theme of the year “ 1 billion tourists 1 billion opportunities” They suggested ways for creation of infrastructure with high end facilities, promotion of adventure and religious tourism, cleanliness of tourist areas, exploring of new tourist destinations, increasing of accessibility including surface and air transport facilities.