Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister Tassaduq Mufti on Tuesday said the negative impression about the state needs to be changed to restore the glory of tourism in the Valley.
"We have to create positive stories amongst ourselves and then talk about those," Mufti said while addressing the media after inaugurating the 64th convention of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).
"Kashmir is safe for tourists and other people and there is no need to worry about this," he said.
Tourism and environment
The minister also stressed that tourism had to grow in Kashmir along with awareness on environment and ecology. "We have been polluting our rivers and lakes. This trend has to be reversed immediately so that environmental awareness keeps pace with the development of the tourist industry in Kashmir," Tassaduq, brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said.
The convention, which was earlier planned to be held in China, is being hosted by Srinagar after three decades. Though Kashmir has hosted the convention seven times before, the last time it was held in Srinagar was in 1988 when militancy was in its infancy.
Mufti said the state needs TAAI more than they "they need us." "It is great to have TAAI delegates here. They organise things very efficiently. I hope we do well with them this year. A TAAI convention is what the government of Jammu and Kashmir initiated to help undo the negative perception being created by some about the tourism scenario here," he said.
TAAI President Sunil Kumar expressed confidence that the conference will boost tourism in Kashmir. "We are very confident on behalf of TAAI that once you see this convention concludes successfully the visibility of Kashmir as tourism destination will multiply many times and this would result in more tourists coming to Kashmir," he told reporters.
Kumar said the speakers participating in the convention will chalk out a strategy and will brainstorm ideas to bring Kashmir on the global tourism map.
Tourism Director Mehmood Shah said delegates from all over the country and from the United Kingdom, Taipei, Nepal, Turkey and UAE are participating in the convention.