LEH: Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel on Thursday said he will write to all embassies to not include newly formed union territory of Ladakh in any advisory against travelling to Jammu and Kashmir.
Patel's remarks come two days after tourism bodies in Ladakh asked him to tell the world that the union territory is no longer a part of strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir, to send out a message to the global community that the region is peaceful and safe for them to visit.
"We will go back and write to embassies and tell them to not include Ladhak in their advisories, if any, against travelling to Jammu and Kashmir.
The region is peaceful and safe for visit of international tourists," he assured tourism stakeholders on the last day of his three-day visit to the region.
In a memorandum to the minister on Tuesday, the sector had urged the government to announce the "new geo-political" situation so that travel advisories over Kashmir issue do not affect Ladakh "negatively".
He said the formation of a union territory is a huge challenge not only for the government but also the people of Ladakh.
"Please don't think that your issues will not be addressed. We won't take a step in the region without the consent of the stakeholders.
While tourists want to see beauty, they also want peace. If we want to promote tourism, we need to build amenities. It will take time. We also need training institutes. Many things need to be worked out," Patel said.
He also urged the sector to draft a tourism policy for the region in collaboration with the central ministry and said he will send a team to the region at any stage where coordination is required.
"I promise you that various permissions that are needed here will be given in days and not in months," he said.
Taking into consideration demands made by stakeholders in both Leh and Kargil, Patel said that distribution of resources, as well as investment in infrastructure, will be equally divided between the two areas.
The minister also announced the formation of a core group in the tourism ministry which in collaboration with the sector will draw out long term and short term plans for the region.