Kashmir as safe as any place in the world, tourism official

Kashmir as safe as any place in the world, tourism official

Asserting that picturesque Kashmir is a safe a tourist destination, Jammu and Kashmir government has welcomed visitors from Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations to experience the 'Paradise on Earth'.

"Our security situation is very stable, and it can be gauged from the fact that in 2011 we have had 2 million tourists; of them 70,000 were foreigners, including Saudi families," Farooq Shah, Director Tourism J and K said.

Shah is part of a high-level delegation of tourism and culture ministers, government officials, bureaucrats, airline operators and tourism experts from different states of India currently visiting Saudi Arabia.

"We are also known as the shopper's paradise because of our traditional hand-made goods, beautiful shawls and wonderful hand-woven carpets," Shah told Arab News.
One of the reasons why tourists from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have avoided going to Kashmir is the security situation even though Kashmir is as safe as any place in the world, the senior official told the newspaper.

The Jammu and Kashmir contingent is the biggest one, headed by Tourism and Culture Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora, and it includes Minister of State for Home, Tourism and Housing Nasir Aslam Wani, Tourism Commissioner Atal Dulloo and J&K Tourism Development Corp Managing Director Satish Nehru, besides Shah.

The composition of the Kashmiri delegation, he pointed out, underlined the Omar Abdullah-led state government's seriousness in attracting tourists from Saudi Arabia.
"Saudis specially like our houseboats, we call them floating apartments, they are nicely decorated, and in terms of service they are no less that any five-star hotel," Shah said on the sidelines of the road show in Dammam.

He claimed that the state is the right destination for young Saudis looking for adventure.

"We are the place for wind sports, rafting, mountaineering, golfing and trekking... We have excellent facilities for all outdoor activities," he said.

Dammam was the first stop for the road show. It travels to Riyadh on January 9 and Jeddah on January 12.

The north Indian state witnessed a large influx of tourists in 2011.
Last year also saw Germany withdrawing the travel advisory for its citizens visiting Kashmir.