Chairing the State Tourism Advisory Committee (STAC) meeting here on Monday, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asked the concerned department to come up with a comprehensive Tourism Development Policy taking all stakeholders on board. This, he said, would govern and guide growth of tourism along with taking necessary care for protecting and conserving environment and ecology in the State.
The Chief Minister said that all residents of Jammu and Kashmir are equal partners in the process of revival of tourist glory in the State adding that peace and tranquility holds key to groom and grow this economically core sector of development.
“Balanced approach has to be taken to rope in tourists from within the country and abroad”, he said adding that the tourist market for Kashmir in South-East Asia, Middle-East, Gulf countries and Germany need to be harnessed in full besides working for attracting tourists from other foreign countries.
Omar Abdullah said best service and hospitality to tourists is essentially required to make them visit again and again to this place. He said that while befitting infrastructure is important for comfortable stay of tourists in the State, the quality service delivery is essentially significant for this purpose.
The Chief Minister said that government is making all endeavors to help holistic development of tourism by encouraging adventure, sports, pilgrim and conventional tourism in the State and help creation of up to the mark infrastructure with the aim to generate economic activities and expand job market for youth. He said that the private players associated with this industry have to substantiate government efforts so that the stupendous goals are achieved in this sector.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Tourism, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Chief Secretary, Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, Commissioner Secretary Tourism, Atal Dullo, various senior officers and representatives of various associations and chambers connected with tourism, trade and travel.
In a PowerPoint presentation made by Atal Dullo, it was stated that over 13 lakh visitors visited Kashmir Valley during the year 2012 while the number of Yatris visiting Shri Mata Vaishno Devi was over 103 lakhs. Besides, more than 6.21 lakh pilgrims visited Shri Amarnath and Ladakh received more than 1.79 lakh visitors.
It was stated that more than Rs. 383 crores have been sanctioned for various development projects in tourism sector by the Omar Abdullah-led government during the last four years and 66 such projects have been completed during this period. As many as 23 rural tourism projects have been completed out of 29 such projects started at a cost of about Rs. 19 crores. The remaining 6 projects are likely to be completed during the current financial year while 24 more such projects are in the pipeline. For Mubarak Mandi conservation project Rs. 50 crores have been sanctioned.