"To start with, the government would hold a 3-day tourism promotion event 'Great Himalaya Bazar' in Srinagar from May 16 where we will be proactively promote our tourism destinations to attract travelers who prefer to go to Europe and other places," Farooq A Shah, Managing Director, J&K Tourism Development Corporation, told reporters here on Monday.
He said the bazar will become an annual event thereafter. "The government will soon introduce a tourism policy under which the government will develop and promote the state.     

"There is not much scope for heavy industries to develop in our state but tourism has a great potential. We have a cold desert for tourism, pilgrimage as well as leisure and this combination is not available anywhere in India except Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Shah said despite challenges the government was hopeful that the tourism industry would pick up with initiatives of the government.

"Our Chief Minister himself is making efforts for promotion of tourism. The floods were a setback but it did not affect the entire tourism infrastructure," he said.

Shah said now Bollywood was returning to the state for filming purposes. "We give permission for film shooting within a period of 24 hours and this has received a good response from filmmakers," he added.

"Like every state has its own Unique Selling Point (USP), Jammu and Kashmir has natural beauty and many destinations which can compete with Switzerland and other European destinations," he said.

Shah said the state government will start conducting road shows and other activities in parts of the country for the promotion of tourism in the state.

The officer said that 1.5 crore pilgrims and over 15 lakh tourists visited the state last year.

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