Putting Kashmir Back On The Tourist Map
10 July 2005
Srinagar: To showcase Kashmir as a safe destination for tourists all over the world, Union Tourism Minister Renuka Chowdary on Sunday announced a series of measures. Winding up her three-day visit to Kashmir, Ms. Chowdary told reporters that Rs. 40 crores has been sanctioned to boost the tourism industry and rebuild the infrastructure in the State. Apart from Rs. 16 crores given as soft loan to houseboat, hotel and horse owners, the Government has sanctioned Rs. 8.58 crores for revamping the Institute of Skiing at Gulmarg. Another Rs. 20 crores has been earmarked for rural tourism, development authorities and new circuits. The Amarnath Yatra circuit would be developed exclusively by the Centre. 'I will give you details when I come back in a few weeks time,' she said. The other circuits would come at the banks of Jhelum and Shivkhodi in Jammu. Stating that the Centre would take up a comprehensive campaign throughout the world to present Kashmir as 'a safe destination,' Ms. Chowdary said 'this is safer than New York or any other place but it is only question of making people aware about the facts.' A Kashmir festival would be organised in all the metro cities in September as part of publicity campaign. 'We want to take Kashmir's rich food and craft to every part of the country.' She lauded the State Tourism Minister, G.H. Mir, for his efforts to revive tourism in the State. Ms. Chowdary said that an art camp would be organised in Gulmarg that would be 'incredibly beautiful.' Jammu and Kashmir would be in the forefront in India's road show on tourism in the Arab world, South East Asia and the U.S. that is likely to take place in September.