May 2003 News

We had no idea that Kashmir is so beautiful: Spanish envoy

17 May 2003
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Spanish and Argentine envoys to India today jointly lifted the First Ambassadors' Golf Cup at the Royal Springs Golf Course (RSGC) here. They were among the 50 participants who joined to play the game in the sprawling lush green course which once used to be the dream project of the former Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah. Organised as part of the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's campaign to attract tourists to Kashmir, the tournament is the first of its kind with the participation by 10 Delhi-based envoys besides the chief executives of multinational companies. Accompanied by their families, the envoys from Spain, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Brunei, Argentina, Thailand, Spain, Morocco and Uruguay started their day with a tee off at the breathtaking 18 hole golf course, which is now considered as one of the best in the world. Mesmerised by the captivating beauty of the course which is located on the foothills of the Zabarvan range of mountains, the participants were thrilled by what they said 'it is indeed a superb place'. 'We are excited to be here today,' said wife of an envoy who has been to Kashmir for the first time. The Spanish Ambassador, Don Rafael Conde, said that he would tell his people back home to visit Kashmir and enjoy nature's bounties. 'We had no idea that Kashmir is so beautiful' he told The Hindu adding that 'seeing place with one's own eyes than just hear about it makes a lot of difference. I will tell my countrymen to make Kashmir their destination'. Impressed by the scenic splendour of Kashmir, the Thai envoy, Chirasak Thanesnant, said 'it had a spell-bound effect on me'. Mr. Sayeed distributed prizes to the winners while the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Ghulam Nabi Azad, was one of the participants. 'Such tournaments will boast the tourism in Kashmir and our Government is working on the same lines' Mr. Azad said. The tournament promoter and former national Golf champion, Brandon de Souza, said the turf was the finest in Asia. The Tourism Secretary, Najmus Saqib, who himself won a prize, said the course was 6,450 metres long with 76 acres of landscaping. It is spread over 130 acres and has eight acres of native natural marshes. The natural forests are spread over 50 acres with natural water bodies on seven acres. The course was thrown open last year.


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