Dr Farooq calls for diversification of tourism sector in Kashmir


Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Party president and Member Parliament elect Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday asserted that state’s tourism sector has been the biggest casualty of the longstanding conflict, saying that the electronic media too has created a negative narrative on Kashmir.

Party president while interacting with the noted players of Kashmir’s tourism industry said, “The rampant malicious propaganda that is being beamed every now and then has severely hit the people on the ground. Being a conflict zone, the place is marked by uncertainties; however, never in history have the visitors faced any ordeal in the valley. The people of Kashmir have always gone out of their way to help tourists, during any eventuality. Nowhere in the world do we come across such instances where tourists are treated as warmly as are treated in Kashmir,” adding, “The tourism industry is one of the biggest job providers in Kashmir after agriculture, handicraft and government, however, unfortunately, the state has been used by the TRP-hungry national media. Most of them never miss a chance of demonizing Kashmiris which in due course has added to the disillusionment in the people especially the youth of the state.”

Dr Farooq while extolling the role of tourism players towards giving best of services to the visitors said, “The fact remains that never has any tourist been harassed in Kashmir. People who throng the valley to escape the scathing heat of the plains leave for their homes with cheerful memories. The situation demands major tourism players of the state join hands and come up with a joint strategy to fight against the negative propaganda being carried out incessantly by a certain section of media. Moreover, we haven’t seen the incumbent governor administration come up with a strategy to attract more tourists to Kashmir. There is also a need to attract people from other areas. There has been no headway in attracting tourists from Eastern countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan. The incumbent state and central government has also failed to impress upon the European countries to remove travel advisories against Kashmir.”

“We have an administration in place that is ridden by ineptitude in view of any accountability on ground. Now it is the people associated with this sector who have to come out and strive to put the sector back on the track,” said Dr Farooq.

“If NC comes to power, we will come out with a comprehensive plan for the tourism industry. We will make amends to the imprudent policies and unruly tax regimes that are marring the already ailing industry. The new government under the visionary and robust leadership will work on both long term and short term goals towards making Kashmir one of much sought after tourist destinations of the world,” he said.

“A comprehensive programme is what Kashmir requires, that comprises of building infrastructure, increasing development authorities, drafting entrepreneurship policies to increase present room capacity and diversification of services. Our state can make strides in health tourism, alpine trekking, and water sports. Kashmir has a lot, it provides moving scenic beauty to writers, and it affords a great deal of opportunity to adventure lovers as well. But all that can only be achieved if a responsible democratically elected government is in place. In no way can a handful of advisors represent the aspiration of a state with a complex set of problems,” he added.

Among others, office bearers of PHD chamber of commerce, tour and travel association of Kashmir met with the president and greeted him on the spectacular win of the party from all the three constituencies of the Kashmir. Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya, Vicky Shah, Nazeer Shah were among the prominent presence in the meet. Party’s provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani, treasurer Shammi Oberoi, spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar were also present on the occasion.


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