Srinagar, Apr 5 (ANI): Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that developing sightseeing spots like the Tulip Garden in Jammu and Kashmir would help restore tourism in the troubled state.
The Tulip Garden, considered as one of Asia's largest tulip gardens, was conceived and set up by Azad, when he was the state Chief Minister at the foot of the Zabarwan mountain range, which overlooks the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar.
It has been open to the public since March 2008. Since then, thousands of tourists have been visiting Kashmir during March and April to see the tulips.
"The biggest industry of the Kashmir Valley is tourism. This has been badly affected due to the armed insurgency in the region for the past 20 years.
However, people have always desired to visit this area. Earlier, tourists started coming in by May. But due to changing weather conditions in India, summers now begin as early as March. Thus, tourists wish to visit new places, but there was nothing here for the tourists to see in that season," said Azad, during a visit to the garden.
He also said that almost 90 percent of tourists come to see the tulips bloom.
"I am happy that we have achieved the aim of advancing tourism by nearly two months in the valley.
Now we have a lot of tourists who visit the place in the months of March and April as well. It is even more than what we have in the months of May and June," he added.
Tourism is the backbone of the Kashmir economy.
From the Mughal era, the region has served as a retreat for Indians living in the plains, who seek respite from the summer. (ANI)