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Big boost to tourism

The Khelo India winter games have given a huge boost to the tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K topped the medals tally after bagging 11 Gold medals, 18 Silver and 5 Bronze medals in the second edition of Khelo India Winter National Games, which concluded on Tuesday in famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Hoteliers in Kashmir have already thanked the government for organising the event and said the same will help in promotion of tourism in Kashmir. The hoteliers have expressed gratitude to the Government for organizing such events in Gulmarg. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Khelo India International Games Festival signifies that J&K was “touching new heights in peace and development”. Addressing over 600 participants including international players through virtual mode at Gulmarg, the Prime Minister Modi said that every Indian was keenly looking at the festival. He said that the participation of national and international players in the Khelo India International Games Festival Gulmarg raises the moral and self-confidence of every participant. Last week, the J&K LG Manoj Sinha, paid a visit to Dal Lake, where he met several tourists who came from different parts of the country. During his interaction with the tourists, the Lieutenant Governor enquired about the experiences of their visit to Jammu and Kashmir. He asked them to the goodwill ambassadors for J&K and carry the message to their respective areas that J&K is an ideal and safe tourist destination. While assuring the tourists a safe and pleasant visit to the UT, the Lt Governor observed that the Tourism department, local community, and other stakeholders are collectively providing a tourist friendly environment to facilitate the visit of the tourists coming to J&K. From eco-tourism to winter sports, from pilgrimage to adventure tourism, J&K offers a host of attractions to tourists to experience the scenic beauty, warm hospitality, rich culture and heritage of J&K and make their visit to the UT a memorable one, added the Lt Governor. He advised the tourists to also explore the unexplored beautiful tourist places of the UT. The tourists, while sharing their experiences, said that they feel very much delighted to visit Kashmir. They also said Jammu and Kashmir is a safe place for all kinds of tourism activities and is really a paradise on earth. The recent step taken by the J&K government to revive tourism sector in J&K have been extremely helpful is reviving to some extent the sector that saw huge slump after August 2019. As COVID followed the lockdown, it further dented the sector to the extent that hardly anyone was visiting Kashmir, which otherwise is probably the best tourist destination in India. However, with the recent steps one feels confident that 2021 is going to be a much better year and the valley will see more and more arrivals, which will help uplift the ailing sector. Several stakeholders whose livelihoods are directly or indirectly related to tourism are hoping for a bumper season, and are praying for peaceful times ahead.