SRINAGAR: Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel today stated that the central government is making better efforts to tap the tourism potential of J&K.
The Union Minister made these comments while addressing the tourism conference titled, ‘‘Tapping the Potential of Kashmir: Another day in Paradise’, at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre here.
He said that to improve the flow of tourists into Jammu and Kashmir, this conference has been organised wherein all the stakeholders have been invited to meet, discuss and give suggestions to create better tourism infrastructure in entire J&K.
Patel while expressing his satisfaction over the improving number of tourists thronging Kashmir from past one year, said, ‘I think after the abrogation of Article 370 and other subsequent developmental works taken with respect to the tourism sector the number of tourists visiting here has increased and this has made us think of giving a makeover to the already existing tourism places here’.
Speaking on the occasion, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Baseer Khan said that after COVID pandemic, we did lot of activities to restore tourism activities here. Several webinars and various strategies were adopted in this direction.
He said that today I can proudly say of what we made as a humble beginning has started to yield results as there was a sudden spurt of influx of tourists in winters in Kashmir and also in Jammu which encouraged us to go a bit further more and in the depth of the winter, tourism was its one of the highest best, there was no place vacant in Kashmir even the houseboats were booked. This gave me satisfaction that tourism has revived in Jammu and Kashmir.
I convened many sessions with all my officers and from the right guidance from the office of LG and able support from Union Ministry of Tourism. We have been able to give it a further push for the coming summers, I can assure that another 3-4 months when entire country will be blistering with temperature the tourist coming to this place will increase manifold and it will give impetus to our economy.
Since we have the best planners, who have dealt with tourism over the years and they have bundle of experience behind them to actually conceptualise ways and means to tackle and manage tourism in J&K and also explore further means ushering new directions and identifying new destinations that could be included in order to show our tourists our new products.
So far as new destinations are concerned the Govt of J&K has finalized a long list of destinations that we are going to include in our long list of tourism map and then showcase it.
He said under Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD Scheme a number of projects have been taken up and many of these projects are at the verge of completion. The private players have to come forward to do the handholding to the UT Govt and help in creating better infrastructure.
Union Secretary Tourism said that we have been striving hard since the pandemic to help revive tourism in J&K, the efforts in revival started in winters and the process will continue in summers especially the for the domestic tourist and it should set an example as and when we open up the visa for international tourists.
Secretary Tourism, J&K, on the occasion highlighted some of the historical tourism sites in J&K and the importance they hold in the tourism map of J&K. He said a visit to J&K is a great experience all year round and all the four seasons have something unique to offer.
Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism GoI, presented the welcome address. She said that domestic tourism is growing leaps and bounds here and time has come to discuss what products we have to offer and the products that we need to work on.
She said the need of the hour is to showcase quality products including Golf, Culinary tourism, heritage, Neolithic sites and Arts and Crafts besides religious tourism.
Secretary General FICCI, Dilip Chinoy and Chairperson, FICCI Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee and CMD the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, Jyotsna Suri also spoke on the occasion and gave their insights about the tourism of J&K and ways and means to improve it further.
Earlier, Director Tourism Kashmir, Dr G N Itoo presented a PowerPoint presentation on potential of tourism in Kashmir, wherein he showcased the number of tourist destinations in J&K.
Among others, the event was attended by Union Tourism Secretary, Arvind Singh, Secretary Tourism, J&K, Sarmad Hafeez, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism GoI, Rupinder Brar, Secretary General FICCI, Dilip Chinoy, Chairperson, FICCI Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee and CMD The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, Jyotsna Suri, besides others.
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in association with the Tourism Department of J&K, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) and the Indian Golf Tourism Association (ITGA) had organised the tourism conference here.
The objective of the event was to showcase the Myriad tourism products of the UT of J&K and promote J&K tourism as the destination for leisure, adventure, eco, wedding and MICE tourism.