Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and General officer commanding (GOC) 15 Corps Lt General A K Bhatt Saturday teed off 2-day 7th J&K Golf Association Tournament at Pahalgam Golf Course.
"This scenic beauty of this golf course is second to none and it can attract golfers across the world and give a fillip to high-end tourism," Abdullah said.
He said various stakeholders in tourism should coordinate to organize events in sports, adventure, and conventional tourism to attract more and more visitors
The first leg of the tournament was completed at Pahalgam Golf Course in which three times winner of Asian Tour, Shiv Kapoor also participated.
Shiv Kapoor, who has played golf around 80 countries and twenty amateur and 11 professional titles to his name, termed Kashmir the safest place to visit.
"This is the second time I have been to Kashmir. Last year I played at Royal spring golf course at Srinagar. I really feel at home. People are really hospitable and very much contradictory to what national media portrays," said Kapoor.
He cited example of Turkey which is gripped in turmoil for long but people still visit there.
"I would like to appeal people from India and outside to not get swayed by the negative media propaganda and instead visit this place and enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the valley and the warmth of the people," he said.
He also hailed the facilities at Lidder valley golf course.
"I have played golf all over except in South America and the scenic beauty of the golf courses in Kashmir is stunning. Only Switzerland can be compared to it," he said adding this golf course was well maintained.
Kumar has won a gold medal in 2002 Asian games and won several other titles across the world.
Abdullah, along with former JK Bank chairman MY Khan, former NC legislator Bashir Ahmad Shah (Veeray) are the participants in the tournament.
Director Tourism Kashmir Tasaduq Jeelani, former JK Bank Chairman M Y Khan, MD Cum CEO J&K Golf Development and Management Authority Ghalib Mohiuddin Shah and President J&K Golf Association Mushtaq Burza, senior executive Aadil Khurshid besides MLA Pahalgam Altaf Wani (Kaloo) were also present at the function.
The two-day tournament is organized by JK Golf Development and Management Authority, JK Tourism, Ahad hotel and Resorts; Four Points, Khyber Cement and Pahalgam Hotel and Restaurant Owner Association at Lidder valley golf course in Pahalgam.
Speaking on the occasion, Tasaduq "The players like Shiv Kapoor have international fame and their presence in our courses will definitely promote J&K as a golfing destination. We are expecting good number of golfers to visit the State for more such tournaments in the future."
"The golfers are also high-end tourists who often bring along their families too for sightseeing and shopping of famed handicraft products," he said.
The second leg of the tournament and prize distribution of the golf tournament will be held at Royal Springs Golf Course on Sunday.