Govt to host ambassadors in Kashmir
Travel advisory issue
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Mar 25: Jammu and Kashmir government would invite ambassadors of various countries including from Europe this summer to convince them to lift or ease their travel advisories on Kashmir.
"Envoys of 25 foreign countries including from Europe and the Commonwealth will be invited for a self assessment of the security situation and ground realities in Kashmir Valley this summer," State Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora told the state assembly today.
"We want the foreign dignitaries and diplomats to assess and see for themselves the security situation in Kashmir Valley," Jora said while replying to discussion on demand for grants of his Ministry.
Kashmir had recorded an arrival of over 25,000 foreign tourists last year.
Jora said, "Once they (envoys) assess the situation or threat perception for themselves they would be able to take a decision and recommend easing or lifting of advisories to their countries".
As part of efforts to encourage the countries to scrap adverse travel advisories on Kashmir, a group of High Commissioners and ambassadors were invited to Kashmir in October last year.
"Although the envoys of major Commonwealth countries did not come, but some came and we let them move around on their own to see the situation for themselves," Jora said, adding "they went to various tourist destinations and Srinagar city without any security.
"The common perception was that tourists face no threat in Kashmir as things are normal now," he said.
Referring to steps taken by the government to attract more tourists to the state, the Minister said, "We have declared 2010 as 'Visit Kashmir' year for the domestic and international tourists. We hope this would be the best year to record the arrival of largest
number of tourists".
Tourism department has also organised a massive campaign across the country including roads shows and Kashmiri festivals, Jora said.
It tied up with Thomas Cook for holding road shows and campaigns in 25 cities of the country, he said, adding there was a comprehensive plan for staging similar events to showcase Kashmir in metros and second tier cities starting from March this year.
"Not only this, we want to extend the stay of tourists in Kashmir valley by creating ring tourist corridor starting from Verinag - gateway to Kashmir valley," Jora said.
"It is expected that the project will help extend the stay of tourists from a week to 20 days and ensure dispersal of tourists and money to other destinations as well," he said.
The ring corridor would start from Verinag and cover Kokernag, Aharbal water falls, Mansalbal, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Dal lake (Srinagar) and Pahalgam, he said.
Efforts are also being made to make Kashmir valley a "round the year" tourism destination and to attract golfers to courses in Srinagar, Gulmarag and Pahalgam this year, he said.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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