Union Minister Amit Shah is reportedly visiting Jammu and Kashmir later this month as part of the Centre’s outreach program. Scores of senior and junior ministers have visited J&K in the last several weeks as part of the program to review the development schemes and hear out the common man from ground zero. The aim of the entire exercise is to send a strong message that the centre is quite focused on Jammu and Kashmir and wants development on the ground and not just on paper. Last week, the Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, G Kishan Reddy too was in J&K as part of the outreach program. During his visit, Reddy pledged all support to the J&K administration to bring Mughal Gardens on the UNESCO Heritage map so that these places get international recognition and help in increasing foreign tourist footfall. His was a very fruitful tour of the Union Territory as he made some key announcements regarding Tourism, one of the most important business sectors in the valley. Appreciating the Tourism Department for its work done during the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said the J&K administration has done better than other states and UTs during the crisis. He said that J&K was progressing and moving in the right direction and the Union government is supporting the UT in every respect to take the region to uniform prosperity with the rest of India. Reddy said the Centre would take every measure required to make Jammu and Kashmir the number one tourist destination in the country. During his visit, the Union minister kick-started several developmental projects. In his interactions with stakeholders drawn from various segments of the tourism industry, including hoteliers, travel agents, houseboat owners, Reddy reaffirmed the commitment of the central government for the promotion of tourism and culture in the Valley. He said the Centre will do everything in its domain to brand Jammu and Kashmir as an international tourist destination. Among other issues, the tourism stakeholders sought direct flights from different cities of the country including Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai to Srinagar. They also demanded insurance cover in case of losses, development of new and virgin tourist destinations, better mobile connectivity at tourism places, renovation of old hotels at tourism destinations like Pahalgam, Gulmarg among others. The minister gave a patient hearing to the tourism stakeholders and assured them that all their genuine issues would be taken up for early resolution. One hopes that all the assurances made by him and the rest of the visiting ministers are put into action as soon as possible which in turn would go a long way in bridging the gaps.