SRINAGAR – Emphasizing on providing a unique experience to tourists and increasing their footfall, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha today passed directions to prepare a comprehensive future plan for promoting tourism sector in J&K, and identifying new, unexplored tourist spots.
While taking a review meeting of Tourism Department here at Civil Secretariat, the Lt Governor observed that the UT is bestowed with abundant natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes. He asked the officers of the tourism department for developing various tourist circuits across the UT, laying special focus on adventure tourism, trekking activities, pilgrimage sites, water sports and other popular ventures.
The Lt Governor laid thrust on ensuring easy access to the tourists at all tourist places, with proper mobile connectivity, ATM facilities and other utilities for hassle free and memorable experience of the visiting tourists.
The Lt Governor directed the concerned officers to develop state-of-the-art facilities by coordinating with other agencies for full utilization of tourism infrastructure by which the tourists coming for pilgrimage at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi and other religious places also visit other important tourist destinations.
Directing for high level of inter-departmental coordination for coherent efforts, the Lt Governor asked the Tourism Department to integrate its efforts with Culture department while organizing mega Literary, Arts and Sufi festival in J&K. Similarly, coordinate with Forest Department for identifying more trekking routes, he added.
The Lt Governor further directed for proper maintenance of tourism properties so that they remain in impeccable condition throughout the year. “Ensure that forest hutments, tourist accommodations and stays are utilized properly”, said the Lt Governor.
“Lay special focus on revenue generation, work in collaboration with Mission Youth,extend handholding of youth for financial and other requisite support, so that they can earn livelihood in tourism sector, and at the same time offer best facilities to tourists”, the Lt Governor remarked.
Giving impetus on developing the tourism sector of Jammu region, the Lt Governor directed the Tourism department to launch special drive to promote Jammu tourism circuit. He further directed for organizing a 3-months long festival in Jammu to popularize various tourist destinations.
Instructions were also passed for developing all the requisite tourism facilities at Mantalai so that the tourists can witness the beauty of this less explored destination.
For developing the tourist places located in remote and far flung areas, the Lt Governor directed the tourism authorities to build tourism infrastructure through convergence mode for the convenience of the visiting tourists. He gave example of annual Machail Mata Yatra held in Kitshtwar and other similar religious and tourist spots in remote places. “Pay special attention to maintain cleanliness at such tourist places and ensure sustainable development without disturbing the ecological balance”, he added.
Chairing the review meeting, the Lt Governor also sought detailed status of the working of Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation JKTDC and various regional Tourism development authorities. He directed them for regular updating of their websites providing latest relevant information for tourists and taking all required measures to tap the full potential of tourist sites.
The Lt Governor enquired about Cruise boat in Dal Lake to be launched soon by JKTDC. He exhorted the officers of Tourism Department to ensure that tourism projects make visible impact and further asked them to construct public utilities and toilet facilities at all tourist places. “Plan accordingly so that benefits of government schemes are availed by all stakeholders and beneficiaries”, he added.
A PowerPoint presentation was given by Sh. Sarmad Hafeez, Administrative Secretary, Tourism Department in which he apprised the chair about the initiatives in pipeline viz. Launching of Cruise in Dal Lake by JKTDC, engagement of consultants/event management agencies, Integrated web portal, capacity building of stakeholders under Industrial policy, upgradation of JKTDC properties, Helicopter Safari services, Prepaid services for pony walas, Basic Life Skills (BLS) training for adventure activities, opportunities for start-ups under Mission Youth, and upcoming Gurez Festival.
Earlier, the Lt Governor was apprised about the various initiatives taken by the department to promote tourism activities after the 1st and 2nd Covid Wave receded, like Pahalgam / Patnitop Winter Carnival, Gulmarg Winter Carnival, Christmas Celebrations, 2nd Edition of Khelo India winter games held at Gulmarg, Badamwari Festival at Srinagar, Tulip festival at Srinagar, Lohri Festival at Jammu, Travel Marts, National Road Shows, Webinars, Vaccination Drive, Capacity building workshops, Golf Tourism – upgrading of courses, KGC academy, establishment of Film Cell in Jammu / Kashmir, Trekking expeditions and other tourism activities.
Sh. Baseer Ahmad Khan, Advisor to the Lt Governor; Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; Dr G N Itoo, Director Tourism Kashmir; Vivekanand Rai, Director Tourism Jammu; Ms. Deepika Kumari Sharma, Executive Director, Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society; Mohammad Akbar Wani, Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation, besides other concerned officers attended the meeting.