SRINAGAR – National Conference President Omar Abdullah has suggested provision of an insurance cover to woo foreign tourists.
Travel advisories issued by different countries keep foreign tourists away by not only advising them against visiting the Valley but also rendering their insurance policies null and void if they do so, Abdullah writes in his blog on the party’s website.
This makes for, “perhaps, much bigger discouragement,” he says, adding: “What the Government of India and the state government need to do is work with some insurance companies to provide a cover to those foreign tourists who do visit J&K.”
“It is a simple solution but one that could possibly encourage some of the high spending foreign tourists to return to Kashmir,” he concludes in the weekend post which also suggests environment-friendly infrastructure and evening entertainment venues for domestic holiday-makers.
Indian tourists have started visiting Kashmir in large numbers after a gap of over two decades.
“Kashmir hasn’t seen days like this before. There are more tourists in Kashmir this year than there were in 1988 which was considered a benchmark year,” Abdullah writes.
“I am not for a moment suggesting that tourists coming means that the Kashmir issue has been resolved or that normalcy has returned but the benefits of tourist arrivals benefit the local community – the house boat owner, the shikara owner, the taxi owner and the seller of the handicrafts not to mention their families,” the leader says.