2007 was turnaround year for tourism in Kashmir: Official

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (UNI) The Jammu and Kashmir government has claimed that 2007 was the turnaround year as far as the tourist arrivals in the strife-torn Valley was concerned.

Addressing a news conference here last evening, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Secretary Nayeem Akhtar said the tourist arrivals in the Valley last year were beyond any comparison.

However, he refused to divulge the figures apprehending adverse reaction and response from various groups in the Kashmir valley, apparently referring to militant outfits.

Mr Akhtar expressed the hope that this winter would be the ''best ever'' in Kashmir as far as tourism was concerned.

Asked if the state government was in touch with foreign governments which had issued negative travel advisories for its nationals to visit Jammu and Kashmir, he said the officials were engaged both in direct and indirect engagements with the foreign missions here.

''Despite negative travel advisories, foreigners are visiting Kashmir in large numbers. The trend is increasing.'' Mr Akhtar said the Jammu and Kashmir government was keen to upgrade the tourism infrastructure in the state.

He said the Jammu and Kashmir government had invited offers from national and international consultancy organisations for further improving the infrastructure at all tourist places across the state.

''We have received four offers from international and national consultancy firms against our global notice for expression of interest. The offers are being assessed,'' the tourism secretary added.

UNI AG HS KP1528

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