Pune, Jun 18: Continuing with its Tourism promotion program, the Department of tourism Sunday participated in an event in Pune on mountaineering organized by an NGO ‘Safe Climbing Initiative’ to promote J&K as safe, forward and adventure tourist friendly state. Around 500 climbers from across the country attended the event during which a Mountain film festival was also organized.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah attended the event as the chief guest. The department of tourism Kashmir also organized a media interaction on the sidelines of the event to offset the negative perception among the travellers owing to negative media publicity on Kashmir.
Speaking during the event, Director Tourism Kashmir said Kashmir is as safe adventure destination in India.
“We have highest number of high-altitude lakes in Kashmir where many foreigners and locals trek. We also receive bulk of the tourists from Pune for mountaineering,” he said.
During the event, the climbers were made aware about safe climbing.
Director Tourism Kashmir said the department will bring experts for anchor replacement in the mountain peaks in Kashmir.
“We will also replace old and weathered bolts with new and strong stainless steel boats on the mountain routes which exceed over 50 years of life. The regular anchor replacement is necessary for the safety of the mountaineers as the old bolts have rusted over the period of time due to harsh weather in our state,” he said.
The Director tourism said the department is organizing mountain climbing training at artificial rock at TRC Nowgam for the local youths to take it as their career.
He said hundreds of the local youth trek to many mountain peaks through J&K Mountaineering and Hiking Club.“We have trained hundreds of the youth most of whom are working as guides for the climbers. As you visit Kashmir for climbing, you won’t find the dearth of expert climbers who will guide you through routes,” he said.
He said the department has a full-fledged adventure wing which provides every kind of logistic support to the climbers.
Director Tourism Kashmir showcased the Kashmir’s known and lesser known destinations, culture, heritage, art and craft besides potential in MICE, Golf and adventure tourism during the event.
“J&K is a complete package for a traveller. He can’t see such a variety in any part of the world. In all the three regions Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, you will see different cultures, landscape, religion, environment which you won’t get to see anywhere in the world in one state. We are blessed with everything,” said Shah.
Earlier on Saturday evening, the Tourism department also organized a press meet during which Director Tourism Kashmir urged media persons to portray positive stories from Kashmir.
He urged them not to pay heed media propaganda but listen to the word of the mouth from the travellers who have visited the Kashmir recently.He said the tourism department has launched helpline numbers for the tourists for their safe and comfortable journey.
Director Tourism Kashmir said tourist destinations in Kashmir are completely safe and the people of the State are very friendly and hospitable. “Tourists who come to Valley leave with good memories as the places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Mughal Gardens, Dal Lake are completely safe and free from any kind of disturbances,” said Shah.
“Tourists who visit Kashmir have been giving rave reviews about beauty, safety, hospitable nature of the locals in Valley. The same tourists were first reluctant to visit Kashmir as they had developed fear only due to negative media publicity,” said Shah. He said if Kashmir was not safe, then filmmakers from Bollywood would not visit the Valley for shooting. “Currently, Sidharth Malhotra is in Kashmir who shot in beautiful places like Gulmarg and Pahalgam for his upcoming movie ‘Aiyaary’. Earlier, in the recent past, many bollywood films were shot in Kashmir. Their arrivals in Kashmir is a testimony that political disturbance in Kashmir has nothing to do with tourism,” he said.
Director Tourism Kashmir said Pune is one of the biggest markets for Kashmir as many leisure tourists and adventure lovers visit Kashmir.
He invited media persons from Pune to Kashmir to see for themselves if Kashmir was safe tourists are not. “We are organising FAM tours for media persons. We will take them to tourist destinations. They will record how safe the destinations are,” he said.