J-K govt. organises familiarisation tour to give tourism sector a boost

| Updated: Dec 29, 2016 13:54 IST

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir)[India], Dec.29 (ANI): Tour operators from across the country visited Kashmir recently as part of a three-day FAM (Familiarization) tour. The tour was organised by the state tourism department with the aim of reviving tourism in the strife-torn valley. The visiting team expressed satisfaction over the return of normalcy in the Kashmir Valley and hoped that the tourists would return as the situation is conducive for sightseeing. Tourism took a hit during the nearly four-month-long unrest sparked off by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8. "People would often just ask, 'Is Kashmir safe?' Now that the situation is getting better, we invited leading tour operators here. We hosted them around Christmas. We are thankful to them that they spent their Christmas holidays here," said Mahmood Shah, Director of Tourism. Tourism is the back bone of Kashmir, but unfortunately due to the months of unrest, it experienced huge losses. Representatives of travel companies like Cox and Kings, Pooja Holidays, Raja Rani, Kaisri Travel, Thomas Cook etc who were taken to Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam so that they would observe themselves the conducive atmosphere for tourists in the valley. The travel agents came from West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Gujarat as well. Presently, the weather is cold and the upper reaches, including Gulmarg, have already received the first snowfall. "We are seeing that it is very normal here. We don't see people having any problems here. As soon as we get back to Mumbai, we will be doing a lot of promotions to get tourists because the atmosphere and the circumstances here are very conducive and there will be no restrictions imposed on them," said Sudhir Patani, a tour operator from Mumbai. Kashmir is the most beautiful tourist destination of world and instead of visiting other places people can enjoy the natural beauty at normal budget. The province is a well known tourist destination for winter activities such as snow-boarding, skating, sledge rides, gondola jaunts, cable car rides and snow skiing making tourism one of the mainstays of the state's economy. (ANI)