Bad times never hampered pilgrimage tourism: Guv

‘JK Has Great Potential For Adventure Tourism’ MANZOOR-UL-HASSAN

Srinagar, Sep 14: Governor NN Vohra on Wednesday said bad times in the Valley never hampered pilgrimage tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and this year over 1.06 crore tourists visited Amarnath Cave and Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.

“The past difficulties in J&K had affected economy here, including tourism, but the pilgrimage tourism was going on smoothly and the sector has started showing significant resurgence this year”, the Governor said addressing the Valedictory Session of 9th Annual Convention of the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) at SKICC here.

He said the number of pilgrims to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, which was 87 lakh last year, is likely to touch one crore mark this year. “Similarly, the number of pilgrims to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine was over 6.35 lakh this year”, he said.
Vohra said nearly six and a half lakh tourists visited the State this year so far including over 21,000 foreign visitors.

“The State has unique attractions to offer the visitors and this provides an ideal setting for the promotion of tourism including adventure tourism which would generate very significant employment avenues”, the Governor said.

While expressing his satisfaction over increase in number of tourists this year, he said, “The situation in valley this summer will serve as a clear message for changing negative international travel advisories by various countries.”

“The Tourism department should take appropriate measures for environment protection while formulating framework of tourism policy”, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Tourism, Nawang Rigzin Jora, said Jammu and Kashmir was the most ideal destination for any sort of adventure tourism activities. “We can give all possible options to the adventure-lover tourist from water rafting to mountain expedition, skiing to paragliding. We also conducted the Mughal Road car rally successfully”, he said.

Nasir Aslam Wani, Minister of State for Tourism, called upon the delegates of the Convention to become ambassadors of the State and spread the message that JK is the ideal tourist destination.

In his keynote address, Ashwini Kakkar, Chairman Mercury Travels Ltd, spoke at length about the emerging clientele in the adventure tourism sector and the strategies needed to be adopted for promotion of tourism in the emerging scenario.
Former President of the ATOAI, Ajeet Bajaj, and secretary, Akshay Kumar, presented the recommendations of the 3-day Convention.

Earlier, President ATOAI, Tejbir Singh Anand, welcomed the guests and participants for taking keen interest in tourism promotion.

In his closing remarks, Convention Chairman Capt. (Retd) Swadesh Kumar, thanked Jammu and Kashmir Government, local tourism related traders and the people at large for their whole-hearted support in making the Convention a successful event.

Among others present on the occasion were Tourism Minister of Assam Chandan Brahhma, Director Tourism Kashmir Farooq A. Shah, Commissioner Secretary Tourism Atal Dulloo, senior officers of the Tourism Department and delegates of the Convention.

The Governor presented mementos to all those who contributed significantly for successfully organizing the Convention.