'Kashmir most preferred domestic tourist destination'
19 October 2006
Srinagar: Notwithstanding the violence unleashed by militants in the State, Kashmir continues to be the most preferred domestic tourist destination, two surveys conducted by international travel agencies have found. The surveys, conducted by CNBC and Thomas Cook travel agencies of international repute, have placed Kashmir at the number one spot in dream destinations and most preferred destination for Indian travellers, Tourism Minister Mohammad Dilawar Mir said on Thursday. During a meeting with members of Kashmir Hotels and Restaurants Owners Federation at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Complex here, Mr. Mir said the findings of surveys were encouraging for the State's tourism industry and expressed optimism about a big tourism boom in J&K. Mr. Mir said the hotel industry in Kashmir Valley and tours and travel sector should play a complementary role to revive tourism, which is very vital for State's economy. Without referring to terror attacks on tourists in Srinagar that forced holiday-makers to shun Kashmir, the minister said joint effort were needed to offset damages caused to tourism sector by negative media reports about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Mir said an intensive and vigorous campaign would be launched in the country and abroad to attract maximum tourists to the State. Services of cable and electronic media, including Prasar Bharti, would be availed of to showcase tourism potential of the State. Mr. Mir said Tourist Trade Act of 1978 would be amended and broadbased to make it more relevant and tourist-friendly in the present situation.