Press Trust of india

JK needs to create positive stories to attract tourists:  Tourism Minister

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Srinagar, Mar 27 :Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister Tasaduq Mufti today said the state needs to create alternate and positive stories to change its perception among tourists.

The minister, who was addressing a press conference along with president, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Sunil Kumar ahead of the 64th convention of the apex travel agents body, said there should be strategies in place to attract tourists.

"You have to create alternate stories and a civil society is very responsible for that, because unless you do not create points of focus elsewhere, this problem will persist. We have to create positive stories amongst ourselves and then talk about those," the tourism minister said here.

Terming the TAAI convention as historic, Mufti said events like these would help the state create a positive perception and attract tourists.

"This is a historic event and we could not have hoped for a better start for the year. I see TAAI's attention to detail in the way they organize things and the observations that they have made so far about the state... some fine ideas have already started flowing,"  he said.

Asked about the government's plans to attract tourists in view of a negative perception and continued violence, the tourism minister said there is need for creating opportunities and to have strategies in place.

"We have to start by creating opportunities and by talking to the world outside and also to have strategies in place because, god willing this will be a very wonderful year, but then things could go wrong as they often do.

"So, I think the need is to strategise and also make these partnerships more tangible, and create associations that are specific with people," he added.

Also, replying to the question whether the state government would write to the Centre to reduce the footprints of security forces near the potential tourist places like near the Line of Control (LoC), Mufti said the department is working on a comprehensive tourism policy which would cover all those issues.

"When you frame a comprehensive tourism policy, these things are a part of that. That will be a part of our overall vision, our overall policy. I think if we keep our city vibrant, if we keep our culture vibrant, we have other stories to talk about, we have wonderful kids who are doing well, we have events like this, it will change perception,"  he said.

Speaking on the occasion, the TAAI president exuded confidence of attracting tourists to Kashmir.

"I must mention emphatically here that TAAI convention itself addresses the lot of matters that have come up (about perception).

This convention going successful will be a message to the whole world that TAAI has done its convention here, they got the whole industry here and that itself addresses the perception," Kumar said.

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