ATOAK celebrates International Mountain Day

Preserve mountains for tourism growth: Dir Tourism

Rising Kashmir News:To celebrate the International Mountain Day, the Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK) organized seminar at Nigeen Club Srinagar on Sunday. The Seminar first of its kind was organized in association with Tourism Department and J&K ski and Mountaineering Association.

The top adventure tour operators of Kashmir, adventurers, environmentalists and naturalists were present on the occasion.Among others Director Tourism Kashmir Farooq Ahmad Shah, former Director General Tourism M Ashraf,CEO Gulmarg Development Authority Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Vice Chairman J&K Tourism Alliance Nasir Shah, President TAAK and Secretary General J&K SKI and Mountaineering Association Rauf Tramboo President, Secretary ATOAK Muhammad Yusuf were present and spoke on the occasion while the Director Tourism Farooq Ahmad shah who was the chief guest presided over the meeting.

Stressing on the importance of preserving natural resources, the Director Tourism said tourism can grow if mountain biodiversity is preserved.

“People come to Kashmir to see our mountains, glaciers, forests, rivers, lakes and wildlife which is prime attraction for them. These are the basic ingredients for eco- tourism, so it is our collective social responsibility to preserve these natural resources,” said Shah.

The DGT M Ashraf also stressed on the need to preserve the fragile mountains and rivers which attract the adventure loving tourists to J&K.

“It is because of our green hills, lofty snow clad mountains, soothing lakes and rivers that Kashmir is famous for all over the world. We need to protect them at any cost,” said he.

Speaking on the occasion President TAAK and Secretary General JKSMA Rauf Tramboo said that Tourism which is the world’s largest industry has become a primary source of revenue for many mountain areas including our state of Jammu & Kashmir.

“Tourism brings us cash and builds our economy,” he said.

“If the tourism in our state grows, it will prove a primary source of income for out state,” Tramboo added.

He, however, cautioned on the impact of tourism on the environment.

‘But we have to preserve the environment. We should also promote our culture. It will help us generate income and employment for our local communities. We should encourage eco- tourism in our state to see our tourism trade flourish,” said Tramboo.

On the occasion a book on Mountains of Jammu and Kashmir authored by Dr Nazim Hussain was also released.

The renowned environmentalists include CEO GDA Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Ex-Chief Wildlife Warden MS Bacha, a student Monisa Banday, Dr Mir Mansur Wildlife Department also gave presentations during the seminar to highlight importance of mountain biodiversity.

The Life Time Achievement Awards were presented to Farooq Ahmad Shah for his contribution in the promotion of mountain sports, M Ashraf for his contribution in the development of mountain sports during his tenure and for authoring number of papers on Himalayas, Mahmood Ahmad Shah for his earth exploration and photography on wildlife, M S Bacha for his work on wildlife and preservation of forest.
Four others, Muhammad Yusuf, Tassaduq Mueen, Rauf Tramboo and Nadeem Qadri were also presented commendation award for their deep concern in the preservation of mountains, forests and exploration. Many other volunteers were also presented the mementos and certificate of participation.