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JK to use golf to promote tourism

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
May 17, 2003 21:09 IST
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From inviting foreign delegates for a round of golf to urging Bollywood directors to once again start shooting films in the valley, the Jammu and Kashmir government is exploring different avenues to shore up tourism in the state.

In one such move, it invited nine ambassadors for a game of golf at the world renowned 18-hole Royal Spring Golf Course.

Located by the banks of the world famous Dal Lake, the golf course is a dream come true for any golfer.

Official sources said ambassadors of Argentina, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Spain, Turkmenistan, Brunei and Uruguay along with 18 top executives of some leading corporate houses participated in Saturday's match.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said that golf could be used as an instrument for promoting tourism in the trouble-torn state.

"I have asked the state tourism ministry to evolve a three-day golf-cum-holiday package for people from the corporate sector of other states," Sayeed said at the concluding ceremony of the Ambassadors' Golf Cup Kashmir-2003 in Srinagar on Saturday.

Under the new package, Sayeed said, tourists can fly to Srinagar on Friday morning, have four sessions of golf up to Sunday afternoon and then fly back.

The chief minister said tourism has a vast potential and its revival in the state could help in establishing peace and prosperity.

"Investment in the corporate sector takes a long time to yield results, but tourism industry is a great multiplier," he said.

Calling upon the corporate sector to invest in the state, Sayeed said every rupee invested here "means investment for peace in Jammu and Kashmir."

Thanking the envoys for participating in the tournament, Sayeed urged them to be the ambassadors of peace for the state.

"I hope you will go back with pleasant memories of this place and bring more people to this beautiful place," Sayeed said.

While admitting that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was not yet of the desired level, Sayeed added that it was safe enough for a visit.

State tourism officials believe the golf match would help the government in its efforts to woo domestic and foreign tourists to Kashmir.

"This will be a big boost for the tourism industry," said Abdul Aziz Wani, managing director of the state Tourism Development Corporation.

Additional inputs: PTI

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