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May 09, 2019 |

Promoting Kashmir

Despite spending crores of rupees on promoting tourism in the state, outside the state and at international venues, the returns have not been in tune with the investments. Rule of the thumb says that 10-20 percent spending on promotions, which is an investment incurred by the state, should increase the returns by at least three to four times of the capital so invested. In Jammu and Kashmir where tourism continues to be played up to serve political interests instead of business and economic interests, most of the money in promotions have been going down the drain. The functioning of the state tourism department has always drawn suspicion, forcing the government to often change its top executive. Air has never been cleared on the allegation that a nexus exists between few service providers and the tourism department who constitute its primary beneficiaries. The channels used by the department and its modus operandi has invited flak in the past, and called for through investigation in all affairs, particularly the promotion campaigns in which crores of rupees have been spent so far. It is a fact that tourism in the state in general and in Kashmir valley in particular depends a lot on the security situation. In all years when the state was hit by unrest and political instability, business has ebbed. Most of the “novel” ideas conceived by officials and those closed to them have not yielded the expected returns, and it seems that with or without promotions, the state tourism maintains its own momentum and is not affected much. Under these circumstances the state government must rigorously but not blindly pursue the idea of promoting Kashmir so that the sector will get a kick start not only for this season but for the upcoming seasons. The government must begin by getting rid of the deadwood that has been draining the investments to run their own shops and ventures. Accountability in the state tourism department needs to be emphasized and all those who have been direct beneficiaries need to be audited. Tourism industry belongs to the people of the state and not the few selected persons who are accused of forwarding their cut or commission to the officials in lieu of monetary favours. The state government must hire a professional team of consultants and promoters with expertise and proven track record. The state exchequer cannot bear the pomp and empty show put up by the department, which only works as long as the money keeps pouring in.  

 

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May 09, 2019 |

Promoting Kashmir

              

Despite spending crores of rupees on promoting tourism in the state, outside the state and at international venues, the returns have not been in tune with the investments. Rule of the thumb says that 10-20 percent spending on promotions, which is an investment incurred by the state, should increase the returns by at least three to four times of the capital so invested. In Jammu and Kashmir where tourism continues to be played up to serve political interests instead of business and economic interests, most of the money in promotions have been going down the drain. The functioning of the state tourism department has always drawn suspicion, forcing the government to often change its top executive. Air has never been cleared on the allegation that a nexus exists between few service providers and the tourism department who constitute its primary beneficiaries. The channels used by the department and its modus operandi has invited flak in the past, and called for through investigation in all affairs, particularly the promotion campaigns in which crores of rupees have been spent so far. It is a fact that tourism in the state in general and in Kashmir valley in particular depends a lot on the security situation. In all years when the state was hit by unrest and political instability, business has ebbed. Most of the “novel” ideas conceived by officials and those closed to them have not yielded the expected returns, and it seems that with or without promotions, the state tourism maintains its own momentum and is not affected much. Under these circumstances the state government must rigorously but not blindly pursue the idea of promoting Kashmir so that the sector will get a kick start not only for this season but for the upcoming seasons. The government must begin by getting rid of the deadwood that has been draining the investments to run their own shops and ventures. Accountability in the state tourism department needs to be emphasized and all those who have been direct beneficiaries need to be audited. Tourism industry belongs to the people of the state and not the few selected persons who are accused of forwarding their cut or commission to the officials in lieu of monetary favours. The state government must hire a professional team of consultants and promoters with expertise and proven track record. The state exchequer cannot bear the pomp and empty show put up by the department, which only works as long as the money keeps pouring in.  

 

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