Need To Instil Confidence Among Tourists: Azad
6 September 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today highlighted the need to instil confidence among intending tourists that situation in the State was conducive enough for them to visit, adding that the job could best be performed by tourist guides.Addressing two-day 11th annual convention of Tourist Guides Federation of India here, he said Kashmir was known all over the world and for promotion of tourism here, publicity of the place was perhaps not as important as need to develop confidence among tourists that visiting the Valley was as safe as going anywhere else. He said once this confidence was created the tourists including foreigners would make a beeline to Kashmir. 'Tourist guides were the right people to generate this confidence among intending tourist as they interact and mix up with tourists on daily basis. Their assessment and words would have the desired effect on tourists,' he added. Mr Azad asked the tourist guides to ensure that a message was sent from here that tourists from any part of the world could undertake a hassle free visit to Kashmir . He said foreign tourists study a lot about culture, cuisine, geography and other aspects of the places they intend to visit. 'We need to ensure that Jammu & Kashmir was adequately and properly marketed', he said and asked the participating tourist guides to work as ambassadors of the State for promotion of tourism. He said the State had much to offer as a tourist destination and it was responsibility of all those associated with the trade to win the confidence of tourists. He said beautiful places and culturally and historically significant destinations were important attractions but good behaviour and conduct of those involved with tourist trade was part of complete package one could offer to tourists. He said Kashmir was perhaps the only place where all four seasons could be seen and felt in individual colours. He said this diversity needs to be used for promotion of tourism. The Chief Minister also referred to the tourism scenario at national level and said while today about 4 million foreign tourists visited the country annually the figure of Indians visiting other countries was much higher. He said this situation required to be reversed so that there was more inflow than outflow of tourists. 'India is known as a very distinct cultural, religious and geographic entity and there was need to capitalise on this distinctiveness in terms of tourism promotion,' he added. Minister for Tourism, Mohammad Dilawar Mir called upon the travel Trade Fraternity of the country particularly Tourist Guides to act as brand ambassadors for Jammu and Kashmir Tourism for revival of turmoil ravaged tourist industry, adding that the endeavor would go a long way in restoring peace and prosperity in the State. Welcoming the Tourist Guides in the valley of Kashmir, the Minister also called upon the media fraternity to project Jammu and Kashmir situation in right perspective as some vested interest are always hell bent to disturb the peace in the state. He also called upon the Tourist Guides federation of India to arrange some sort of training courses for local youth so that they could get self-employment. Speaking on the occasion, president, Tourist Guides Federation of India, Ashok Sharda said that his organisation was actively involved in attracting foreign tourists to Kashmir. He said the purpose of holding convention here was to ensure that foreign tourists make Kashmir as a preferred destination number one as was the case before 1989. He said tourism was an activity of peace and needs to be promoted. He said tourist guides from Kashmir to Kanyakumari were participating in the convention. Mr Sharda said he had observed during past two years that inflow of domestic tourists to Kashmir had increased considerably and now they would work for attracting foreign tourists. He said the State Government was taking important steps for the promotion of tourism and his organisation would supplement these efforts.