Centre to urge countries to remove Ladakh from travel advisories

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New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) In a bid to improve Ladakh’s image, Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel on Thursday morning assured locals of Ladakh that the ministry will to governments around the world to not include the newly-formed union territory of Ladakh in any advisory against travelling to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Minister is currently on a four-day visit to Ladakh to engage in conversation with locals and stakeholders of the Ladakh tourism industry.

During one such conversation, the locals had urged the Minister to work to improve Ladakh’s international image. The locals believed that since the area was previously a part of Jammu and Kashmir, it had earned some bad name on account of terrorism in the Kashmir Valley.

“We will go back and write to embassies and tell them to not include Ladakh in their advisories, if any, against travelling to Jammu and Kashmir. The region is peaceful and safe for visit of international tourists,” he assured tourism stakeholders.

In a memorandum to the Minister on Tuesday, the sector had urged the government to publicise the “new geo-political situation” so that travel advisories over the Kashmir issue do not affect Ladakh “negatively”.

Patel had also proposed that the stakeholders draft a tourism policy for the region in collaboration with the Central ministry.

“I urge you people to come up with a policy best suited for the region’s development. Take my words on this, I will send my Central team of Ladakh anytime you need them,” Patel said.

The Minister also announced the formation of a core group in the ministry which, in collaboration with stakeholders, will draw out both long-term and short-term plans for the region.

IANS

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