Inviting people from South India to experience the hospitality of Jammu & Kashmir, Minister of State for Tourism PriyaSethi said the state offers an array of facilities to cater to every type of tourism needs of the visitors – be it business, adventure or religious.
The minister, according to an official spokesperson, was speaking at seminar in Chennai organized by the Department of Tourism J&K in collaboration with J&K Tourism Alliance.
The seminar is a part of series of road shows organized by the department to promote J&K as a destination to the travelers from South India.
"People have apprehensions about visiting Kashmir, but I must tell you that Jammu and Kashmir is one of the safest tourism destinations," the minister said.
Welcoming the tourism tie-up between the J&K and Tamil Nadu, PriyaSethi said that the national tourism promotional programme 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' has provided both the states a platform to support each other in promoting tourism. She also invited corporate houses to hold their conventions and meetings at J&K, saying the state has finest properties to host such events.
Business houses can host their events, board meetings, annual meets etc in J&K, the Minister said adding that the visitors have options to pick between many famous star brands like Taj, ITC, Radisson, Sarovar, Four Point Sheraton, Fortune. She further said that J&K has world class properties like Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), Pahalgam Club to hold a variety of business events.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Tourism SarmadHafeez gave an overall overview of the J&K tourism products. He highlighted the distinct features of all the three regions of the state.
Secretary Tourism also quoted the recently released report of National Crime Records Bureau which has stated that no crime was recorded against tourists whether foreign or local in Jammu and Kashmir.
"J&K is an extremely safe destination for women travelling alone. The feedback from women travelers from all over has been tremendous with respect to how safe they felt there", he added.
SarmadHafeez said J&K state is diverse in every aspect – be it culture, handicraft, cuisine, landscape, religion, architecture.
"J&K is a complete package for a traveler to experience a variety in one state," he said, adding, "the state is home to many famous gardens and heritage sites like PariMahal, Hari Parbat fort, over 3000 years old Burzuhama ruins, MubrakMandi, Shankar Acharya temple (250 B.C.), one of the biggest sun temples Martand Sun temple was built in the 8th century, the Nara Nag temple ruins, and also famous sufi Shrines like Char-i-Sharief, MukhdoomSahaib, Ashmukam, KhankahMohallah and many more."
Secretary Tourism who is also the MD Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) said they have already announced 50 percent rebate on all its properties across J&K.
"The hoteliers and the hotel associations have also announced rebate on their properties which can be availed on holiday packages to Kashmir," said SarmadHafeez.
He said this road show in Chennai will help build a strong relationship between J&K and Tamil Nadu. "People of Tamil Nadu have always had a special place in our hearts as we share the qualities of warmth and hospitality which are so dear to us", he added.
Director Tourism Kashmir MahmoodA Shah also spoke on the occasion and informed the gathering that tourist flow to J&K for South India has seen an increase this year and hoped for this trend to continue in future.
On the occasion, the department also screened many Tamil movies shot in Kashmir over the past two decades which was appreciated by the audience on the occasion.
Scores of the travel agent, hoteliers and houseboat owners from all the three regions of the J&K visited Chennai to participate in the tourism show which was also attended by over 100 leading tour operators of the Tamil Nadu State.
The travel agents on the occasion expressed their willingness to promote JK which, they said, has huge attraction among travelers in South India.
Earlier, JKTA Chairman ManzoorPakhtoon delivered the welcome address.
Deputy Director Tourism Kashmir PeerzadaZahoor, GM Operations Delhi Haat CB Koul, President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir Mir Anwar, General Secretary Travel Agents Association of Kashmir Farrooq A Kuthoo, President Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation Abdul Wahid Malik, President Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association Dr Abdul Majid, President J&K Hoteliers Club Mushtaq Chaya, Travel Agents Association of India JK Chapter ZahoorQari, Commissioner Tourism Tamil Nadu Palni Kumar, President Travel Agents Association of India Sunil Kumar and Chairman Southern Chapter TAAI Shahul were also present on the occasion present along with host of travel trade fraternity from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
The department is also organizing road show and Press Meet at Bangalore and another road show and seminar at Hyderabad.