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Strikes not helping tourism’s cause in J&K: Omar

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Omar Abdullah
Omar Abdullah

‘It’s our duty to create a conducive atmosphere and remove doubts from the minds of people visiting the Valley’

Separatists have called a strike against alleged rape and murder of two women at Shopian

‘Frequent strikes deprive thousands of people from earning their livelihood’

Srinagar: Observing that frequent strikes would mar the current tourist season, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said peace was paramount for tourists to visit the State.

“It is our duty to create conducive atmosphere for promotion of tourism and remove doubts from the minds of people visiting the valley,” he said while addressing representatives of hoteliers, houseboat owners, tour operators, tourist taxi operators, shikara operators and travel agents here.

Apparently referring to the ongoing general strike called by separatists against the alleged rape and murder of two women at Shopian, 52 kms from here last week, Mr. Abdullah said frequent strikes would mar the current tourist season and deprive thousands of people from earning their livelihood.

The Chief Minister said his government would soon formulate a Tourism Advisory Committee to seek opinion from experts in the industry for growth and development of tourism.

Outlining the importance of promoting tourism at national and overseas level to make it year-round activity, Mr. Abdullah said attention is required to further upgrade infrastructure and add-on facilities in this sector.

“Hotels, houseboats, transport and catering facilities have to be improved to match international standards so that tourists visiting the state carry a good impression,” Mr. Abdullah said.

He said government would also focus on developing adventure tourism in the State as it provides several opportunities in this regard.

Speaking at the occasion, Secretary Tourism Tanveer Jehan said tourism department has installed 4,000 screens in 22 States of the country this year through which the scenic beauty of Kashmir is being showcased to attract more visitors to the valley. Earlier, presidents of different associations related to tourism business presented detailed account of packages, financial support, tax relief and other facilities required to strengthen the industry. They said the industry provides employment to over five lakh people directly and an equal number benefits indirectly.

They demanded a well-defined policy for the growth and development of tourism and an advisory body to suggest measures and which can also double-up as a monitor of the sector for its integrated development. -- PTI


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