LS polls won't affect tourism season: Ganai

Advisor to Governor Khurshid Ahmad Ganai on Friday said that poll process during Lok Sabha elections beginning next month will not have any negative impact on tourist footfall.

Answering questions of mediapersons on sidelines of a Chinar plantation programme at Char Chinari in Dal Lake, Ganai said he was hoping that the situation in the valley remains favourable to tourism.  

“Elections have happened in the past and tourists have arrived here during such period. I won’t hesitate in saying that our tourist season has kick-started and we would like to welcome tourists,” Ganai said. 

“Whatever incident happened on February 14 unfortunately lead to Indo-Pak hostility but now it is past. We are hoping for peaceful environment and I am sure tourists need not worry,” said Ganai. “We are hoping that untoward incidents do not get repeated.”

Ganai said tourists must visit the Valley to enjoy the spring season and the forthcoming summer season as well. He said tourists visiting the valley have been all praises for Kashmir tourism. 

“Negative publicity of the valley is not acceptable to us. It has been our culture to be hospitable to tourists and be warm to them. This spirit of hospitality is present in all divisions of the state,” he said.

Ganai said tourism department and other stakeholders were making all sorts of efforts to encourage more tourist arrivals.

“We don’t have control over advisories issued by several countries but we would like to invite people from various parts of the country. Intending tourists who have never visited Kashmir and those who want to visit us again are most welcome,” said Ganai.  

Earlier speaking at the chinar plantation event, Ganai said that providing a boost to tourist spots will help to encourage more tourists.

He said one way of saving these rare trees was to plant ten new ones in place of each tree being felled. He said that it was the responsibility of civil society to cooperate with the government and help to protect these rare trees, which has huge botanical potential and cultural value in the Kashmir. “The Floriculture department has distributed Chinar trees in all the districts, which will be simultaneously planted during the drive,” Ganai said.

“If we want to do something big in saving the Chinar trees, we all must work in close coordination and help them to grow in a suitable environment,” he said.