Kupwara: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Sunday said that terrorism brought destruction in Kashmir during the last three decades which ultimately affected one and all but the scenario was changing and a considerable change could be witnessed on ground.
He said that peace was pre-requisite for development of any region and the present dispensation was taking enough measures for sustainable peace which could ultimately pave the way for overall development.
LG Sinha made these remarks, while inaugurating the ‘Bangus Tourism and Adventure festival’ at Bangus Valley in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Addressing the gathering, the LG said that efforts were on to make Jammu and Kashmir a global tourism destination, however it was the responsibility of locals and elected representatives to play their role in maintaining sustainable peace.
“Terrorism has brought a bad name and image to Jammu and Kashmir but with growing tourism things are getting better,” LG Sinha said, adding that “successful G20 meeting in Srinagar helped to attract more tourists from across the country and world.”
“This year a record number of 2.25 crore tourists are expected to visit Jammu and Kashmir which is considerably a higher number as compared to last year’s figure of 1.88 lakh. Those visiting Kashmir return as ambassadors and back home encourage others to visit Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Lieutenant Governor said that the private sector was very important for the tourism industry. “Locals can register their houses for homestays which can provide them livelihood, similarly the local youth in and around Bangus can earn their livelihood with the increasing footfall of tourists,” he said.
According to the official spokesperson, in his address, the Lieutenant Governor welcomed the visiting tourists to Jammu and Kashmir. “We live by the motto of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’, which also resonates in our culture. I hope you all will take memorable memories with you from your visit to this beautiful Bungus valley which has emerged as a premier offbeat destination,” he said.
“Several offbeat destinations of J&K like Bangus are the ideal escape for travellers seeking leisurely adventures and enchanting experiences. From adventure, exquisite cuisine, pilgrimage, traditional handicrafts to serene mountains, Jammu Kashmir offers anything and everything to travellers,” LG Sinha said.
The official handout mentioned LG saying said the festival would further highlight the rural and adventure tourism potential of Bungus valley, promote its tribal culture and provide a platform for local artisans to showcase traditional arts and crafts.
The Lieutenant Governor also highlighted the tourism potential of J&K and shared the efforts of his administration to promote the tourism sector of the UT.
“We have completely transformed the tourism industry and Jammu Kashmir has been positioned as the most promising destination. The tourism sector will soon become the engine of growth for the Union Territory,” he said.
He said that the aim of the UT administration was to attract a greater share of tourists and provide lifetime experience to travellers, explorers and art lovers.
“Around 300 new destinations including heritage sites, offbeat, adventure and spiritual destinations are being developed to provide variety of gateway options for domestic and foreign tourists filled with activities, festivals, natural scenery, shopping and B&B (Bed & Breakfast) home-stay in picturesque and calm villages,” the Lieutenant Governor added.
He said that India’s G20 Presidency made every citizen of the country proud. “After the success of the G20 summit in J&K, we are witnessing a multi-fold increase in the foreign tourists’ arrival in Jammu and Kashmir. Today, tourists in record numbers are visiting the UT is also a reflection of the new aspiration of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
At Bangus, the Lieutenant Governor asked the citizens to discharge their responsibility in maintaining a peaceful environment to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth of the UT.
He said without peace, no development and tourism could happen. “It is not only the job of security forces and police to ensure peace but everyone including local residents and elected representatives have to play their part. Years of terrorism and its ecosystem had destroyed the peace and prosperity while tourism is uniting one and all,” he added.
LG Sinha also highlighted the role of private players, the local people and the youth in creating better facilities for the tourists.
- On the occasion, the Lieutenant Governor flagged off various rallies and activities as a part of the festival. Bangus Adventure Festival offers a host of activities like paragliding, horse riding, hot air balloon, ATVs, cultural events, games etc. for tourists.
Irfan Sultan Panditpori, chairman, District Development Council Kupwara; Major General Girish Kalia GOC Vajr Division; Vijay Kumar Bidhuri, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Secretary Tourism Department; Ayushi Sudan, Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara; Haji Farooq, Vice Chairman, DDC Kupwara; PRI members, senior officers, local residents and tourists in large numbers were present.