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Monday, 06 April, 2015, 10 : 45 AM [IST]

Will combat terrorism with tourism in J&K: Union Tourism Minister

According to a report in the Indian Express, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Culture and Tourism, and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, has said they would “combat terrorism with tourism” in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).

The J&K government has always tried to delink tourism and normalcy. This is one of the main reasons the state does not reveal figure of tourist arrivals in the Valley. “Jammu & Kashmir’s identity is its tourism. Both the Prime Minister and state Chief Minister have realised this and pledged to take it to new heights,” Dr Sharma said, while interacting with the media at a tourism conclave in Gulmarg. “We will combat terrorism with tourism in Jammu & Kashmir.”

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Chief Minister (CM) of J&K, who also addressed the conclave, said the PDP-BJP government would make J&K a premier global tourist destination “in partnership with the Centre”.

As Dr Sharma said the Centre would fund a tourist circuit each in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh under its ‘Swadesh Darshan’ programme, Mufti noted that it is “important to gel Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh as one entity” to connect it with the rest of the country.

“J&K is at the cusp of change,” the CM added, “and our government will channelise the collective energies of the three regions”.

Dr Sharma also assured Mufti that the Centre would look into his complaint regarding ‘skyrocketing of airfares’ to Kashmir during the peak tourism season. Besides, the CM urged the Centre to allow night landing at state airports, Srinagar-Jeddah fights, as well as additional flights to three state airports from New Delhi.

The tourism conclave at Gulmarg is expected to stem the spree of booking cancellations by tourists following heavy rains in J&K. Tourism trade bodies say the flood threat was exaggerated, resulting in the cancellations. (Source: Indian Express)
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