Don't Tour J&K Till Feb '15, U.S. Tells Citizens

29 May 2014
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: Even as the United States has extended by one more year the warning for citizens not to visit Kashmir, J&K's Minister for Tourism Ghulam Ahmed Mir Thursday defended that Rs 4 Crore that Tourism Department has recently spent on its three member delegation to promote tourism all across globe. 'Let me tell you that Rs 4 Crore were not spent only for United States which had issued an adverse travel advisory on Kashmir. This sum was spent to promote our tourism all across the globe,' Mir said during a press briefing in Srinagar. He said that for the first time International radio stations and television channels across the globe provided space to Kashmir tourism and 'this will definitely yield positive results in future.' 'It is a wrong perception that Rs 4 Crore was meant for US only. No, it was meant for the promotion of tourism all across the globe. We sent a single delegation to save the funds. By sending separate delegations to different countries, the Ministry could have incurred more costs and we simply avoided extra cost,' Mir said. Ironically, soon after the delegation from Tourism Department Kashmir arrived in Srinagar, the U.S. Department of State extended the adverse travel advisory on Kashmir by one year till February 2015 citing 'militant incidents' and 'violent public unrest' as the main reason. The delegation had gone there to promote tourism but it failed to persuade US authorities to lift the adverse travel advisory. The minister also informed the Government would provide various facilities related to adventure tourism including water sports, paragliding etc. to the tourists visiting Kashmir during the summer festival commencing from 21 June to 29 June in Valley. Mir said that the Tourism department will organze four festivals in a year to celebrate spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons . These festivals, the minister claimed, would result in more tourist influx in the state. Mir said that the rural tourism which has been introduced in the State and tourist related infrastructure is being created at identified rural tourist destinations out of which tourist related infrastructure in 29 villages of the State has been created. He appealed the hoteliers of the Valley for providing quality boarding and lodging facilities to the tourists which would earn a good name for them and would boost economy and would provided much needed employment opportunity to un-employed youth of the State.