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Tourism Best Means to Promote People-to-people Engagement: CM Mehbooba

Srinagar: Describing tourism as the best means to promote people-to-people engagement, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said her government was making efforts to create a world-class tourist infrastructure.

“Tourism promotes people-to-people contact and tourists become goodwill ambassadors of a place. Like the maxim ‘seeing is believing’, a tourist can testify the veracity of the claim about a place only after visiting it,” she said.

She dismissed the notion that the state was unsafe for tourists in the aftermath of months-long unrest in the Valley.

“Jammu and Kashmir is as safe for tourists, particularly women, as any other place in the country,” she said at a meeting with a delegation of tour operators from across India.

Mehbooba said her government plans to create a world-class tourism infrastructure in the state.

“Road connectivity to tourist destinations, bed capacity at tourist spots, wayside facilities etc are being improved and upgraded to address the requirements of every segment of tourists. Theme-based parks and places are being added to provide variety of attraction to tourists.

“Similarly, heritage lovers and trekkers would be having more spots and treks to visit by adding new heritage sites and routes to their check list,” the chief minister said.

Every region in the state has a unique attraction for tourists and they should be promoted, she said.

The state’s tourism department has organised a three-day familiarisation tour to the Valley for travel agents from Bangalore, Mumbai, Gujarat and Indore.

The agents, who arrived here yesterday, pitched for point- to-point rail services from Mumbai, Gujarat and Kolkata to the Valley to facilitate the travel of tourists to Kashmir, and sought subsidy in aviation fuel charges to bring down air fares.