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news details
Tourism a barometer for economy: Omar
11/20/2012 11:26:51 PM
early times report
Jammu, Nov 20: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the increase in tourist flow to the state should not be equated with normalcy even though the situation is increasingly getting better.
"Tourism and normalcy should not be equated. Tourism is not a barometer for normalcy, rather than it is a barometer for economy.
"The tourist flow is merely an economic activity and should be seen in that perspective only. Visiting of large number of tourists does not mean there is no larger problem in the state," the Chief Minister said. Omar was addressing a seminar on "sustainable tourism-environment and infrastructure" at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre here.
Emphasising tourist-friendly approach, he said the situation is limping back to normal and the Valley is witnessing the same conditions as before militancy.
He said the state does not have any places of infrastructural marvels like Taj Mahal, Ajanta Elora caves orLal Qila for tourists to visit, but is bestowed with natural beauty like rivers, lakes, mountains and religious places which sustain the tourism.
Omar said care must be taken while creating infrastructure in the state as the environs have to be kept safe, adding "a time will come when we have to focus on thequality of infrastructure rather than the volume of tourists."
"I do not want to encourage the tourist arrivals to the tune of 25-30 lakh. Yes, we want more tourists to visit the state and help in its economy and we are focusing on the volume right now. But after a few years we have to focus on the quality of infrastructure."
Lamenting that there are problems that are hampering thegrowth of tourism, Omar termed connectivity as the main challenge after peace.
"Connectivity is a big challenge, but we are working on it. Srinagar International airport is for the name only. Unfortunately, our neighbouring nation, which boasts of being the friend of Kashmir, objected to the use of its airspace by international Air India flights and, hence, it did not benefit Kashmir," he said.
The Chief Minister said unemployment is the biggest problem in the state, but tourism has the potential to address the issue. Union Tourism minister K Chiranjeevi was present at the seminar and Omar hoped the actor-turned-politician would
promote tourism in the state in the same way as he promoted films.
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