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Ahmedabad, Feb 4: Concerned with the fall in number of tourists from Gujarat, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has assured protection to all the tourists and asserted that the state is one of the best tourist destinations in the country.

Talking to mediapersons on the occasion of India Travel Mart (ITM) being organised here, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister G M Saroori said that militancy in the state is being checked by the Government and the state has opened many new destinations for the tourists. ''We will provide protection either from Jammu or from Srinagar to all tourists within any part of the state,'' the Minister said.

Mr Saroori said that the inflow of tourists in the state had dipped to around 25,000 after 1990 due to militancy, but after the current government took over, the tourists inflow has increased sharply.

The tourist inflow from Gujarat had declined after a few Gujarati tourists were killed in terrorist attacks in the state.

Dispelling fear, Mr Saroori said that several developments had improved the atmosphere and the state is also hosting the fifth 'National Winter Games' at Gulmarg.

He said that the state has set up 19 high powered development authorities for integrated and focused development of tourist resorts. The Central Government is also providing support for the development of new tourists spots, he added.

Mr Saroori said that the new areas being developed by the State Government include Garor, Bungas, Dadapathri and Badapathri in Kashmir valley and Badharwah, Khistiwar, Riasi, Ranjit Sagar Lake, Rajori and Poonch in Jammu region.

The state with private participation is also investing in transport, accommodation and communication to upgrade the existing facilities.

UNI

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