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Bangus Calling

September 12, 2023

The ‘Bangus Adventure Festival’ has kicked off on a vibrant note, promising a captivating blend of experiences for adventure enthusiasts and travelers. The J&K government is now taking serious steps to promote new tourism ideas that are different from the usual itineraries of trips to the Mughal gardens and resorts like Gulmarg and Pahalgam. The ‘Bangus Adventure Festival’ is a testament to the state’s diverse offerings, spotlighting offbeat destinations like Bangus Valley, which beckon explorers with promises of uncharted terrain, lush green meadows, and a taste of pristine nature. The ‘Bangus Adventure Festival’ does more than just provide entertainment; it underscores the immense potential of rural and adventure tourism in the Bangus Valley and surrounding areas. By showcasing the tribal culture, it offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the traditions and lifestyles of the region’s indigenous communities. This not only enriches the traveler’s experience but also helps in preserving and celebrating the local culture. Jammu and Kashmir’s commitment to tourism expansion is evident in its plans to develop around 300 new destinations. These additions are poised to provide a wide array of gateways for both domestic and international tourists. The experiences on offer will be as diverse as the natural scenery, from participating in local festivals to indulging in some retail therapy amidst traditional markets. There was a time when the tour operators only promoted the Mughal gardens and a couple of other resorts. However, now tourists want to explore the off-beat destinations of Kashmir. There are so many off-beat destinations that have attracted tourists in the recent past. Though Gurez had already started catching the attention of adventure tourists of late, the ‘Outlook Traveller’ award last year gave a much needed push to the government’s efforts to promote border tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. The J&K Tourism had received the award for the promotion of offbeat destinations at the national level during the Outlook Traveller Awards 2022. After bagging the ‘Outlook Traveller’ award, Gurez in Kashmir’s Bandipora district has started to figure majorly in the itineraries of national tour and travel groups. Gurez Valley is one of the least explored regions of Kashmir and the one that can truly be called an offbeat destination. It is a place of high scenic beauty that does not really get the attention that it truly deserves. At the same time, the Warwan valley in Kishtwar district too started attracting tourists. There are several other off-beat destinations in J&K that have a huge potential of attracting adventure tourists. While the above mentioned sectors received a lot of attention this year, other areas like trekking and heritage walks too have been witnessing a lot of activities over the past few years. All these areas need to be given more attention not just by the government but private stakeholders as well. Also, the government should continue to invite tour operators from all over the country and abroad for FAM trips and specifically brief them about the new tourism destinations on offer in Jammu and Kashmir.

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