'J&K safe destination for tourists'

Bengaluru: Jammu amd Kashmir is a safe haven for tourists said Priya Sethi, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking to media here on Wednesday, she said, in a bid to revive tourism in the state and attract tourists from India and beyond, the tourism department of J&K is offering 50% discount for the tourists.

"It is the warmest place," she said while stressing that not entire J&K is crisis-ridden.  

To boost tourism, the ministry is creating various circuits and packages like spiritual centres, Sufi circuit, heritage monument tour and adventure tours. The Centre is also helping in improving tourism by supporting with Rs 2,000 crore, Priya added.

Trying to erase the image of terrorism in J&K, Smita Sethi, Tourism Director, said that of the 14 districts in the state, just three are affected by insurgency. This year, 2.60 lakh people visited Amarnath shrine and no trip has ever been cancelled.

The footfall to J&K annually is around one crore, which includes 80 lakh tourists to the Vaishno Devi shrine.

J&K mostly gets tourists from Maharashtra and Gujarat, but of late the tourist inflow from south India, especially Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana is increasing with close to four lakh tourists.

J&K Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez said that the department is holding talks with Producers Guild of India, producers and directors of Karnataka to carry out film shooting in J&K instead of choosing foreign destinations.

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