Saudi Arabia shows interest in tourism ties with Kashmir
VALLEY’S NATURAL BEAUTY MESMERIZES VISITING ENVOYS
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Sep 23: Mesmerized by unmatched natural beauty of Kashmir, the visiting envoys of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have expressed desire to start tourism ties with the Valley.
The 23-member Saudi delegation which was on a 4-day trip to Kashmir to recruit medicos for its healthcare institutions, visited many tourist places including famous ski-resort Gulmarg, Dal Lake and Royal Springs Golf Course.
“We were mesmerized by natural beauty of Kashmir. Its lofty mountains, meadows and forests are unique and beautiful. We wish our citizens to see and enjoy the scenic beauty of Kashmir. Hopefully, we will expedite the process to start ties on tourism front with Kashmir in near future,” Muhammad Saeed Al Ham Hum an envoy of Saudi Embassy New Delhi told Greater Kashmir.
Saeed who is also Health attaché of the Saudi Embassy said Kashmir can also be marketed as a health resort. “Kashmir to a large extent is pollution free and has immense potential to be projected as tourist destination and health resort,” he said.
Saeed said the delegation did not face any problem in Kashmir. “We believe that media at international level has made Kashmir a victim of negative publicity. During our stay here, we found situation peaceful. It was nice to see Dal lake and other tourist destinations thronged by tourists from various countries,” said Saeed.
Officials said the Saudi delegation had detailed deliberations with Tourism officials in Kashmir during their visit. “Saudi Arabia is a big tourist market for Kashmir. The Saudi delegation has offered us all help in facilitating road shows in Riyadh and Jeddah to promote Kashmir as tourist destination there. It is a significant development for Kashmir’s tourism sector and we are seriously planning to woo tourists from Saudi,” Shah said.
Significantly, the Indian Embassy has issued a record 4,000 tourist visas to Saudis in June this year alone. “The tourists from Saudi Arabia would find Kashmir not only as beautiful but economically and culturally viable tourist destination. State Government is making all efforts to attract tourists from all countries. We will be organizing many festivals, ski and golf championships to woo more and more tourists to the Valley,” Shah said.
This is the second country in recent past which is willing to send its tourists to Kashmir. In December last year, a high level delegation of Republic of Indonesia led by its Ambassador in New Delhi Lt Gen (Retd) Andi M Ghalib had stated that the Country was exploring possibility to initiate trade and tourism links with Jammu and Kashmir.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 23 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 23 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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