Srinagar, March 27 (IANS) The negative impression about Jammu and Kashmir needs to be changed so that tourism regains its old glory in the state, Tourism Minister Mufti Tassaduq Hussain said on Tuesday.
Addressing the media after inaugurating the 64th convention of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), the Minister said tourism had to grow in Kashmir simultaneously with an awareness on environment and ecology.
“We have been polluting our rivers and lakes. This trend has to be reversed immediately so that environmental awareness keeps pace with the development of the tourist industry in Kashmir,” Hussain said.
He said Jammu and Kashmir needed TAAI more than they “they need us”.
“It is great to have TAAI delegates here. They organize things very efficiently. I hope we do well with them this year,” he said.
Asked about the development of tourist spots along the borders, he said tourism should grow along the borders.
“Tourism should prosper everywhere irrespective of the area.”
He said Kashmir was safe for tourists and other people and there was no need to worry about this.
He said a TAAI convention is what the government of Jammu and Kashmir initiated to help undo the negative perception being created by some about the tourism scenario here.
The last TAAI convention was held in 1988 which coincided with the inauguration of the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar.
Tourism Director Mehmood Shah said because of the shortage of 5-star accommodation in Kashmir, only 600 of the TAAI’s 5,000 members were attending the present convention.
“We have delegates from all over the country and outside. There are delegates from the United Kingdom, Taipei, Nepal, Turkey and the UAE.”