Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Sunday highlighted the vast potential of Jammu and Kashmir for sports, adventure and pilgrim tourism adding that this specialty is yet another sphere of attraction for tourists besides mesmerizing, enchanting and amazing natural resorts and wide-ranging fauna, flora and bio-diversity the State is blessed with.
Inaugurating National Ski and Snowboarding Championship here this morning, the Chief Minister said that organizing sports events particularly winter games give considerable fillip to showcase the State as the ideal destination of different sports.
Omar Abdullah said that winter sports in Gulmarg and other places need to be given further boost to provide opportunities to the participants particularly youth of the State to nurture their talent and develop as world class players. He said normally youth studying in different educational institutions find occasions and platform to participate and show their sports talent in different games. However, he said, the youth not obtaining education are mostly deprived of such occasions. “We should also enhance opportunities and avenues for them”, he said and added that Gulmarg Winter Games will be an effective steps in this direction.
The Chief Minister said that there is need to promote winter sports particularly skiing in Gulmarg by upgrading ski slopes at Kongdoori and Mary Shoulder. “This would help in holding the National and International Ski events in Gulmarg”, he said and spelt out the possibilities of making Gulmarg an International winter sports resort.
Omar Abdullah said that tourism has an important role in the State’s economy and generation of wide-ranging economic activities for the people. “Our efforts should be to develop and showcase the State for round the year destination for the tourists from all across the world”, he said and added that the Tourism Department and all other stakeholders in this industry need to work jointly to rope in high-end tourists alongwith others in great numbers.
The Chief Minister said that the highest dividend of peace is the arrivals of tourists in great numbers particularly in the Valley. He said peace conditions will always boost the tourism activities and help rope in large number of tourists.