Farhat Naik

The Crown Has Lost Its Charm: Mehbooba

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After 31 years TAAI convention returns to Srinagar

Asks country’s tourism fraternity to come forward to increase footfall in the State

Srinagar: Lamenting that the Crown of India (Kashmir) has lost its charm, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today said that Kashmiris are the worst sufferers of 1947 partition of Indian sub continent.

While inaugurating the 64th convention of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Chief Minister said that Kashmir has suffered a lot and continues to suffer.

“We are the great sufferers of partition and even our country has left us alone,” Mehbooba said, adding, Kashmir is in a serious crisis and need to come out of it.

Admitting that the people in Kashmir, particularly the youth, have a strong feeling of alienation, the Chief Minister said: “Peace is what we all want and peace is the key to our progress and prosperity.”

Without mentioning name of any neighbouring country (Pakistan), Mehbooba said that India can’t talk in the language that others do as we know, “war is not a solution.”

Asking TAAI to pitch in for the betterment of the situation that would ultimately lead to peace, Mehbooba said that Kashmir and Kashmiris need a healing touch.

“Kashmir and Kashmiris need a healing touch, not only from the government but from tourists too. Let them come to Kashmir and see for themselves that the place is exceptionally safe for them and then spread the word,” said Mehbooba.

Regretting that some national TV channels, to increase their TRPs are busy portraying Kashmir as “hell”, the Chief Minister said that the misreporting by these channels is having an adverse impact on Kashmir’s tourist flow.

She asked the TAAI not to give any credence to these “agenda driven” TV channels, Mehbooba asked them to visit Kashmir, explore, enjoy the hospitality and convey a word to others.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by an official spokesman said that Chief Minister asked the tourism fraternity of the country to come forward and help in further improving tourist footfall in the State which she said leads to enhanced people to people contact.

The Chief Minister described tourism as the best means of people to people dialogue adding that every effort in this regard would be an investment in peace. She said tourism helps build bridges among people which ultimately leads to minimizing alienation or misgivings about each other.

The three day TAAI convention is being held at Srinagar after a gap of 31 years. The last TAAI convention was held here in 1987.

Appealing the members of country’s tourism industry to clear the negative perceptions about Jammu & Kashmir in their respective markets, Mehbooba Mufti said the State has gone through a phase of enormous violence during the last three decades or so for which people here need a healing touch which tourism sector alone can provide. “Government alone cannot do that, you have to do partnership with us”, she told the delegates.

The people here, the Chief Minister in her emotional appeal said, have been the victims of tough times of the past which bruised them immensely but have remained unmatched in their hospitality and warmth. She said while the place may be called as the warmest place on earth (referring to a video recently shot) but it also dons the crown of being safest place for women. She appealed the delegates not to leave the strings of today’s bond midway and come next time with their families so that they themselves experience the warmth, hospitality and the situation of the State.

The Chief Minister said every region of the State offers unique attraction to tourists of every kind. She said she has asked the Department to devise packages for every segment-youth, old, newlywed, nature lovers, conservation activists, students  of society so that its multi dimensional facet is explored properly.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister gave away awards to leaders in different segments of the industry in the country.

Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Mufti in his address said Jammu & Kashmir provides a varied attraction to tourists in terms of the regions, cultures and cuisines. He said while promoting tourism the stakeholders have to act as guardians and conservationists for the preservation of the same. He said today’s TAAI convention offers hope to the members of tourism industry of the State.

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