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Tourism- Tool for Peace, build bridges, end alienation
  • March 2018

Jammu and Kashmir is the only place in India where “women are safe” and tourism helps build bridges among people which ultimately leads to minimizing alienation or misgivings about each other, said Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, while inaugurating the 64th convention of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) at Sheri Kashmir International Convention Centre at Sri Nagar, the Capital city of the Paradise on Earth.

During her inaugural speech Ms. Mehabooba has appealed to India’s travel and tourism industry to clear the negative perceptions about Jammu and Kashmir among our citizens and help in bringing peace to the troubled Valley by bringing more tourists to place J&K Tourism to its shining days once again.

Ms. Mehbooba said that visit of tourists to this place is an investment in peace. “My father used to say that when a tourist visits us, it is an investment in peace. Your every step that you set in Kashmir is investment for peace. Just like an Army jawan fights on the borders or fights against militancy that is one way of fighting.  The second is to fight the alienation and the crown of the country has lost its sheen for some time. It needs to be treated by you”, she said.

There are many ways to deal with the situation but we are using only one way to deal it. That is fighting the gun with the gun but the pain it inflicts needs balm that can be provided by the people of the country, by you people”, she said.

Ms. Mehabooba welcomed the delegates and asked them to bring their families first and then persuade others to come to Paradise on Earth again and again.  Jammu and Kashmir is the only place in India where “women are safe” . She termed the people of Kashmir as Waqt Kay Sataye and Taqdeer Kay Maray.

Before concluding her speech Ms. Mehbooba said Jammu & Kashmir state has gone through a phase of enormous violence during the last three decades or so for which people here need a healing touch which tourism sector alone can provide. “Government alone cannot do that, you have to do partnership with us”, she told to the TAAI delegates.

“There is no doubt that we are going through a very difficult phase but we have invited you today for our handholding”, she said.

Mrs. Mehbooba has urged to TAAI members that, the tourism fraternity of the country to come forward and help in further improving tourist footfall in the State and tourism as the best means of people to people dialogue adding that every effort in this regard would be an investment in peace

She was emotional in describing the state and status of Kashmir and it was responded by the audience by standing ovation, she recalled her memory,  “My father used to say that people tell us that if you do good deeds, you will land in heaven. But he would say, he did not know if this Jannat (Kashmir) was more beautiful than the Jannat in the hereafter.” Since you came here, it looks spring has come to this place. Your presence is a good omen.”

Appealing tourists to visit Kashmir, she said: “We have same forests, same lakes and same rivers, there are golf courses, diverse languages, rich culture, I feel that there is no such diversity in any part of the world which we have here which is alone in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Mr. Tassaduq Mufti, Minister for Tourism, J&K said in his address that Jammu & Kashmir provides a varied attraction to tourists in terms of the regions, cultures and cuisines.  The stakeholders have to act as guardians and conservationists for the preservation of the same. The return of TAAI convention after a gap of 31 years offers hope to the members of tourism industry of the State.

Ms. Priya Sethi, Minister of State for Tourism, J&K has also addressed the inaugural function and outlined the uniqueness of the State in providing niche tourism attractions to every segment of society.

 Mr. Aditya Gosh, President and Whole Time Director, Indigo Airlines delivered the key note address said  that domestic tourism is the backbone of travel & tourism in India and the aviation sector is the major supporter for this growth. The ever increasing costs and escalating revenue sources are the major hindrance in this sector and he  urged the J&K Government to convert the Srinagar airfield into a 24x7 airport, which will increase the flow of international and domestic tourist to the state and generate more  jobs for the local population and acts as economic growth engine in the region. 

Mr. Sunil Kumar, President of TAAI presided over the grand inaugural function and Mr. IAS, Secretary, Tourism, J&K welcomed the gathering. Mr. Sanjay Narula, Vice President of TAAI and Co Chairman of the 64th annual convention proposed vote of thanks. 

J&K cabinet Ministers, Mr. Abdul Rehman Veeri, Mr. Syed Basharat Bukhari, Mr. Abdul Haq Khan, Mr. Syed Altaf Bukhari and legislators were also attended the event.

J&K Tourism department has showcased the rich and varied cultural heritage through traditional dance and musical performances during the inaugural function. .

Tourism India,India's Travel Magazine,Kerala, India.

Photo courtesy PTI

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