Editorial: Promoting tourism
One of the key asks for the government is to promote tourism in the state. No wonder then that the Chief Minister during a meeting involving tourism players appealed to all stakeholders of tourism industry to join heads and help in clearing the negative perception about Jammu and Kashmir in some sections of the National media.
Though the Chief Minister by announcing such ideas intends to reinvigorate the tourism Industry, there are certain issues where the need for inward assessment is also needed.
The Chief Minister impressed upon the tourism players to further diversify their portfolio and include such attractions in their packages which can enhance the tourist footfall to the State.
She suggested that conference tourism be explored for its potential and asked the Tourism Department and industry players to jointly explore this idea and integrate it with other tourist activities. Similarly, she advised prioritizing golfing to attract high end tourists to the State.
However, one needs to ask some tough questions. If the state considers tourism as a mainstay of the state’s economy why is it that the state does not have a tourism policy? Even though a meeting was called by the Chief Minister on Monday and tourism players were asked to provide their suggestions and views, the government needs to take a final call on this.
The second issue which the state needs to take serious note of is, the upkeep of the existing tourist attractions of the state.
One of the key tourist attraction in Srinagar is the Dal Lake, however, the lake is in such a bad shape that no tourist will feel attracted to it given its upkeep and maintenance.
The weeds in the Lake grow today in greater profusion than what they would in normal course. Garbage continues to get dumped and provide for quick growth of weed. Encroachment and land grabbing partly removed, still plays its destructive role of polluting and defiling the Dal.
It is no more the picnic spot that it was not nor shall it ever be. Even though the Divisional Bench of State High Court has conceded that tons of papers have accumulated while dealing with the case, the ground situation remains the same.
In such kind of a scenario mere words will not suffice. If the government is serious enough to promote tourism Industry as the backbone of the state’s economy then lot more needs to be done.
Stressing on innovative techniques and fresh ideas need to be promoted and youngsters need to be involved in getting to the point that is desired to make tourism industry shine and contribute towards the betterment of the state.