Allow direct international flights to valley: Omar
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Last Updated: Friday, June 17, 2011, 16:44
  
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 said.

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.

PTI


First Published: Friday, June 17, 2011, 16:44


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