Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief
Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday asked Centre to allow direct
international flights to the Valley for boosting the tourism
sector in the state.
Addressing a tourism conference organised by FICCI
here, Omar emphasized the need of facilitating tourists from
South-East Asia and Middle-East to visit the Valley by
operating direct flights.
Terming connectivity as an important ingredient for
facilitating inflow of tourists, he strongly advocated
operationalizing international flights by the Air India from
and to Srinagar Airport.
"This would give fillip to the arrival of
international tourist traffic to the Valley. Air India should
not make the profitability its yardstick for operating
international flights at Srinagar International Airport," Omar
The Chief Minister also called for rescheduling the
flight timings between Delhi and Srinagar.
"We have already taken up the matter with the Civil
Aviation Ministry for operationalizing the time chart for
Delhi-Srinagar flights where under the first flight from Delhi
should reach Srinagar Airport at 7.00 am and the last flight
leaves from here at 6.00 pm," he said.
Omar said these steps would greatly facilitate the
inflow of tourists to Jammu and Kashmir.
He said new tourist markets -- Russia, Malaysia, South
Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Japan need to be explored
for diverting tourist traffic to Kashmir as the tourist rush
to India from these countries is increasing phenomenally.
Underlining tourism as one of the major components in
State?s economy, he expressed hope that tourism will pick up
this season gradually to compensate for the losses incurred
during the last three summer unrests.
He asked the Union Tourism Ministry to help diverting
various national and international conferences to SKICC where
there is up to the mark infrastructure facilities for such
conferences and the weather is most pleasant in this part
of the country.
Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay asked the
State Tourism Department to formulate a comprehensive project
for showcasing `Sufi Circuit` as tourist destination.
"My Ministry will provide you all help in this regard.
You have greater potential for attracting domestic and foreign
tourists to visit spiritual places in the State," he said.