Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to preside over a Davos-type conclave at Gulmarg as part of his "dream" to turn the state into a number one tourist destination in the world.
"My plan is to have a Davos-type conclave of the corporate sector of our country here. I plan to have it in December-January and I have spoken to many people. I want Modi to preside over it in Gulmarg or Srinagar," Sayeed said here last night.
The chief minister was at the inauguration of Jammu and Kashmir Travel Mart – the first of its kind event in the Valley after the eruption of militancy in the state, at SKICC.
Terming Jammu and Kashmir as an "island of peace", Sayeed said it was his dream to see the state as the numero uno tourist destination in the world.
"Jammu and Kashmir is an island of peace. There have been times when the situation was bad in the state, but even then there was no harm done to the tourists," he said.
"It is my dream to see the state as the number one tourist destination in the world. I want to make the state as a destination for all seasons. There should be no off season. I will try my best to change the scenario and fight against the current and I will fulfill my dream," he added.
Sayeed said even during the Amarnath land row in 2008, when the situation in the Valley was very bad, no tourist was harmed.
"No tourist was touched then. Even during the floods, people gave first preference to evacuation of tourists who were our guests," he said.
The chief minister said that after travelling far and The Chief Minister said that after travelling far and wide in many countries, he has found the state as the best tourist destination in the world with no comparison.
"I interacted with some German tourists in Aru, Pahalgam. They said they have been riveted by the beauty of this wonderful place. I believe there should be no off season in Kashmir," he said.
Calling upon the tourism delegates to become goodwill ambassadors and give a glimpse of Jammu and Kashmir's stunning beauty and unexplored potential to the world, the chief minister said there was a need to change the negative perception about the situation in the state.
"Tourism is the only sector which provides instant relief to the people. I travelled to Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Delhi to campaign for revival of tourism in the state. I have tried to change the negative perception about Kashmir by going to these places. I am happy that I am hosting you now. I seek your support in changing the perception of people across the country about visiting Kashmir," he said.
He assured the delegates that his government will take steps to facilitate the tourists and offer them add-on facilities so that they extend their stay.
Sayeed said he will dovetail the handicrafts industry with tourism so that genuine hand-made and price-tagged products are sold to the visitors.
Earlier, the chief minister went around the stalls set up by Valley's top leading tourism players, which provide a window of opportunities that lie in Kashmir.
During the three-day Travel Mart, 20 international countries including United States, Malaysia, Ukraine, Thailand, Singapore, Turkey and South Africa and 180 delegates representing all the States will hold business sessions to provide fillip to the state's tourism industry.