Jammu, Jan 23 (IANS) After 12 million tourist arrivals in 2011, Jammu and Kashmir is eyeing a higher number of tourists and pilgrims this year but needs better infrastructure and facilities in the state, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Monday.
Chairing a meeting of the State Tourism Advisory Committee here, Abdullah asked all the ‘stakeholders to put in place necessary preparatory measures jointly right from now for receiving larger number of tourists in 2012′.
‘The government agencies concerned and private partners are equally responsible in making the stay of tourists comfortable in the state by way of providing up to the mark accommodation and befitting services,’ he said, and asked them to rise to the occasion and make the season more successful.
The chief minister said that showcasing the state’s tourist potential in foreign countries, which have withdrawn negative advisories about Jammu and Kashmir, has become more important in the changed scenario to sell it as the choicest destination for conventional, adventure, sports and heritage tourism.
Many western countries, including the US and Britain, had listed the state on the negative advisory list because of the continuing terrorism, and kidnapping and killing of the foreign tourists in the 1990s.
Abdullah said participation of private partners would be facilitated in such campaigns to be organised by the state tourism department abroad.
He said that besides taking a number of measures to give boost to tourism sector in the state and generate employment for youth, the central government has been asked to fast-track the four-laning of the national highway and completion of railway projects between Jammu to Srinagar.
‘This will give necessary fillip to making Jammu and Kashmir an year-round tourist destination for the tourists with wide-ranging interests,’ he said.