JK among safest destination for tourists, especially women: Priya Sethi
CHENNAI: Inviting people from South India to experience the magnificent Jammu & Kashmir, Minister of State for Tourism, Priya Sethi today said the state offers an array of facilities to cater to every type of tourism needs of the visitors – be it business, adventure or religious tourism.
The Minister was speaking at a seminar and press meet on J&K tourism organized here by the Department of Tourism J&K in collaboration with J&K Tourism Alliance.
The seminar was a part of series of road shows organized by the department to promote J&K as a destination to travelers from South India.
“People have apprehensions about visiting Kashmir, but I must tell you that Jammu and Kashmir is one of the safest tourism destinations,” the Minister affirmed.
Welcoming the tourism tie-up between the J&K and Tamil Nadu, Priya Sethi said that the national tourism promotional programme ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ has provided both the states a platform to support each other in promoting tourism. She also invited corporate houses to hold their conventions and meetings at J&K, saying the state has finest properties to host such events.
“Business houses can host their events, board meetings, annual meets etc at J&K”, the Minister said adding that the visitors have options to pick between many famous star brands like Taj, ITC, Radisson, Sarovar, Four Point Sheraton and Fortune. She further said that J&K has world class properties like Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), Pahalgam Club to hold a variety of business events.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Tourism Sarmad Hafeez gave an overall overview of the J&K tourism products. He highlighted the distinct features of all the three regions of the state.
Secretary Tourism also referred to the recently released report of National Crime Records Bureau which stated that no crime was recorded against tourists whether foreign or local in Jammu and Kashmir.
“J&K is an extremely safe destination for women travelling alone. The feedback from women travelers from all over has been tremendous with respect to how safe they felt there”, he added.
Sarmad Hafeez said J&K state is diverse in every aspect – be it culture, handicraft, cuisine, landscape, religion, architecture.
“J&K is a complete package for a traveler to experience a variety in one state,” he said, adding, “The state is home to many famous gardens and heritage sites like Pari Mahal, Hari Parbat fort, over 3000 years old Burzuhama ruins, Mubrak Mandi, Shankar Acharya temple (250 B.C.), one of the biggest sun temples in India Martand Sun temple which was built in the 8th century, the Nara Nag temple ruins, and also famous sufi Shrines like Char-i-Sharief, Mukhdoom Sahaib, Ashmukam, Khankah Mohallah and many more.”
Secretary Tourism who is also the MD Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) said they have already announced 50 percent rebate on all its properties across J&K.
“The hoteliers and the hotel associations have also announced rebate on their properties which can be availed on holiday packages to Kashmir,” said Sarmad Hafeez.
He said this road show in Chennai will help build a strong relationship between J&K and Tamil Nadu. “People of Tamil Nadu have always had a special place in our hearts as we share the qualities of warmth and hospitality which are so dear to us”, he added.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah also spoke on the occasion and informed the gathering that tourist flow to J&K for South India has seen an increase this year and hoped for this trend to continue in future.
On the occasion, the department also screened many Tamil movies shot in Kashmir over the past two decades which was appreciated by the audience on the occasion.
Scores of travel agents, hoteliers and houseboat owners from all the three regions of the J&K visited Chennai to participate in the tourism show which was also attended by over 100 leading tour operators of the Tamil Nadu State.
The travel agents on the occasion expressed their willingness to promote JK which, they said, has huge attraction among travelers in South India.
Deputy Director Tourism Kashmir, Peerzada Zahoor, GM Operations Delhi Haat C B Koul were also present along with host of travel trade fraternity from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
The department is also organizing road show and Press Meet at Bangalore on December 27 and another road show and seminar at Hyderabad on December 28, 2017.
Commissioner Tourism Tamil Nadu Palni Kumar, President Travel Agents Association of India Sunil Kumar and Chairman Southern Chapter TAAI Shahul were also present on the occasion.