Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said the scenic tourist resort of Pahalgam will attract more tourists and film makers as it readies to become an all weather destination with the modern facilities inaugurated there on Thursday.
Inaugurating the Pahalgam Club-cum-international convention centre in a majestic new avatar to cater to the needs of high-spending travellers visiting the state, he went around the premises and saw various facilities.
“Pahalgam will continue to mesmerize travellers and top filmmakers by its captivating charm and scenic beauty by becoming an all-season destination in near future,” he said.
Describing peace as a prerequisite for promotion of tourism, Sayeed called for improving the holding capacity in valley’s health resorts for high-end travellers by providing access to benchmark facilities vis-a-vis accommodation, roads, communication and hospitality.
“Our high-end intake capacity is fairly low right now. We cannot think of increasing top-end footfall unless we provide niche facilities that match global standards,” he said, while referring to the huge ripple effect tourism industry can have on other segments like handicrafts and cuisine.
He singled out tourism sector as one which can strengthen the state’s economy as well offer more job opportunities.
He also called for augmenting room capacity for middle-rung tourists which, he said, contributes significantly to the tourism-related economy of the state.
Unveiling his plan to promote Pahalgam as an ideal winter destination on the pattern of Gulmarg, Sayeed said the possibilities of introducing cable car will be explored and other elements like ice, roller skating and skiing will be launched there.
He welcomed the guests who had come to Pahalgam for the club’s inauguration which included noted filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra and tourism magnate Rajan Jaitley. “I hope your presence will be able to remove the negative perception that exists about visiting Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Built in 1960, the historic club was a centre of tourist attraction before it was gutted in a fire in 2005.
Sayeed had ordered fast-tracking its reconstruction as an upmarket asset laced with all modern facilities.
Costing Rs.24 crore, the refurbished Pahalgam Club is a blend of traditional and modern architecture, with 21 luxury suites, a state-of-the-art auditorium which can double up as a multiplex, conference and banquet halls, bowling alley, eating joints, gymnasium, swimming pool and an exclusive showroom for handicrafts.