Much to the delight of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the state has bagged the 'National Tourism Award' for 2012-13 in 'Best State-Comprehensive Development of Tourism' category.
The award was given by the tourism ministry to the state, and it appreciated the achievements of the tourism sector of Jammu and Kashmir, which has developed by leaps and bounds due to stringent efforts by locals and the state government.
A local businessman, Nazir Ahmad, said that more such awards will come and the government had to take up the responsibility of building the infrastructure.
"Kashmir has a priority as it's a very beautiful place, with beauty bestowed by the God. And, the environment is best in the entire world, whether it is skiing, whether it is Gulmarg, whether it is Pahalgam, whether it is Srinagar. We all have to work hard and government of India has a great responsibility, ministry of tourism, they have to make the infrastructure. They have to make the hotels," said Ahmad.
"We will win not only Indian awards, but also get all the international awards for tourism," added Ahmad.
For last few years, the department of tourism created new attraction for tourists and worked on the infrastructure in Kashmir, including cable car lift at Makdhoom Sahib Shrine in Srinagar and installing ski chairlift in Gulmarg.
Meanwhile, director of Jammu and Kashmir tourism, Talat Parvez, said the influx of tourists swelled in last three to four years.
"Our state has been doing infrastructural development work as well as capacity building work or other innovative things have been introduced in our state. And, tourism has revived in a long way. Because, we were not having tourists since two decades but in the last three-four years, the tourist footfall has risen phenomenally and the infrastructure has come up very well. And, it has revived the tourism once again," Parvez said.
"We used to get only seven lakh tourists prior to the disturbance in the 80s. Now, we are getting double the tourists, 14 lakh tourists for leisure, other pilgrims have tripled and exorbitant numbers have come," added Parvez.
Economically, Kashmir is also the cheapest and the best tourist destination. The hospitality of the valley is also well known and maintains the popularity of tourism sector.