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Tourism Deptt Kmr allegedly draining state exchequer on flop activities

Fails to attract Foreign, other visitors


KNS

Srinagar, Sep 12 (KNS): The Tourism Department Kashmir has allegedly failed to attract Foreign as well as domestic tourists, despite spending crores on promotion activities.
Official source told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that Directorate Tourism Kashmir spent lacs on what they called promotional programs both within the state and outside the state, but such programs are seen as flop activities of the department.
“Though these programs continued from last several years but the reality is that it attracted less visitors,” a sources within the department told KNS.
He said that most of the people in the department fail to understand that why authorities are spending lacs on the useless activities.
Sources said that though foreign tourist arrivals to India witnessing 8.4 percent growth over last year, Tourism department Kashmir continues to fail in attracting foreigners in large number.
Sources said that the highest number of tourist arrivals was in 2014, a year in which tourism was affected by the floods that broke out in September. “Since 2016, the government has sent officials on seven international tours for the promotion of tourism, spending about Rs 58 lakh on them. The tours have been made twice to London and once to Dubai, Turkey, Moscow, Austria, and Berlin. But, there have been no tourist arrivals from these countries,” sources maintained.
Sources said that the tourism department spent Rs 2.22 crore on making promotional films, mostly by production houses based outside the state. Rs 29 lakh was spent on the same through local production houses. However sources said that this could not make any difference on tourist arrival
Apart from this, Rs 2.32 crore has been spent on promotional advertisements in newspapers published outside the state, while about Rs 18.57 lakh were spent on promotional advertisements in local newspapers.
As per the official sources, the revenue earned by the tourism department through its various business ventures has also gone down – from Rs 1.7 crore in 2014-15 to about Rs 70 lakh in 2017-18.
The insiders of the department also alleged that the Jehlum River Cruise from Peerzoo to Hazarat Bulbul Shah (RA”) shrine was another flop show which has failed to attract the tourists. “Directorate oftourism Kashmir, J&K tourism Development Corporation earlier started Jhelum River Cruise from Peerzoo to Hazrat Bulbul Shah (RA”) Shrine which has failed to attract the tourists. It was shocking that only few persons had boarded in it from the day cruise was introduced,” he said.
The data reveals that in 2008 expenditure shown for the visit of a delegation to outside country is 8, 67,660 and the visitors were then Director Tourism from Jammu, Director Tourism Kashmir and deputy Director tourism Kashmir
For their Berlin and London tours in 2008-09, the expenditure shown is Rs. 203971, Rs. 585340 and Rs. 790172 and again the visitors were the then Minister of tourism, secretary tourism and Deputy Director Tourism Kashmir.
Again in 2008-09, the expenditure shown on the visits of Director Tourism Kashmir, P.A to deputy Chief Minister, Director Tourism Jammu, is Rs 2316225, Rs 1126990 and Rs1424729 for their three visits.
The expenditure shown on the visit of the Minister and Director of Tourism Kashmir to Dubai in 2010 is Rs 898845, next time Minister and Director Tourism were accompanied by MD JKTDC and Director Tourism Kashmir to participate in Dubai global village festivals and the expenditures were Rs 1021552 and Rs 1222506. In the same year again the expenditure on their London visit was Rs 2287744.
In 2012 the expenditures shown on the visits of Minister Tourism, Directors of state Tourism, manager JKTDC,ADT Gulmarg and ADT, Leh on two occasions was Rs10,15624,981466 and $7389 .
Sources alleged that the proposals for these festivals are processed hurriedly to benefit blue eyed ones. Adding that, the sole motive of these flop festivals is to pass bills not to promote tourism on ground.
Meanwhile according to reports Tourism Department has spent whopping Rs 1.7 crore on a five minute tourism promotion documentary on Kashmir.
Sources told KNS that department of tourism has spent Rs 1.07 Crore for only five minute film titled with ‘Warmest place on Erath’.
In May 2017, a short video featuring a tourist couple and a Kashmiri elderly man titled “warmest place on earth” was released by the department of tourism with the stated aim to “attract tourists”.
The video went viral on social media space while the tourism department also promoted it on its official Twitter handle and Facebook page.
The tourism department claims in order to attract tourists they are spending huge amount on promotional videos and later uploaded on their official Twitter and Facebook pages respectively but instead of attracting tourists only corers of rupees are being spent on videos while the tourist graph goes down year by year.
Sources also claimed that the department has also failed to woo travelers from southern India. “Though we receive a large number of tourists from Maharashtra and Gujarat, followed by cities like Delhi and Kolkata, the number of tourists arriving from southern India is yet not very high,” sources maintained.
Sources claimed that despite enough staff in the Directorate tourism Kashmir office, the authorities here have appointed some people as consultants. “I fail to understand that why these consultants have been hired. What is the need of these people here when we have already enough staff in the department to do the job?” (KNS)
 


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