Tourism holds key to economic transformation of J

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Srinagar, Oct 1 (UNI) Expressing hope that with the gradual easing of restrictions, more virgin tourist destinations would be thrown open for the domestic and foreign tourists, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has said tourism holds the key to the economic transformation of the state.

Addressing a function, after inaugurating the Kongposh Hotel of the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) at the the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) here yesterday, he described as a misnomer the general perception about tourism being restricted only to the summer months in the state.

He said that the winter period could be equally inviting for adventure tourists and winter sports on the magnificent slopes of Gulmarg and many parts of the Ladakh region.

Winter tourism had a vast scope in the state and attention should be paid to encouraging trekking, mountaineering and other winter sports, he added.

In this context, he referred to places like Drass, Kargil and Nubra, which had immense attraction for the nature lovers.

Mr Vohra elaborated on the impact of tourism on the state's economy and observed that in the Indian context, one tourist ''brings cheer to nine persons'' involved with the tourism trade.

He said that fillip in tourism could give a very big boost to the local economy and generate ample avenues of employment, directly and indirectly.

He regretted over the situation of not having been particularly inviting during the past few years and said that since the state was now taking a highway of peace and normalcy, the prospect of tourism seemed to be bright.

The Governor said besides horticulture and saffron cultivation, tourism had a crucial importance for the state economy.

Recalling his two-week stay in the TRC, Srinagar, back in 1959, Mr Vohra said that it was truly a wonderful experience.

He complimented the JKTDC for constructing the Kongposh Hotel at the TRC and hoped that it would be an ideal facility for the tourists and for those organising conferences. He asked the JKTDC to formulate a proposal for an approach road to the hotel from the main road.

The Governor was informed that the hotel had been completed at a cost of Rs 4 crore through internal resources of the JKTDC. Under Phase-II, the hotel would have a central heating system and elevators.

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