Srinagar: Tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir is being developed as per the vision of sustainable development goals. Besides, dedicated focus is given to strengthening the hospitality segment and for establishing a robust tourism infrastructure system.
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha said this in his video message during the conference on “Tapping Tourism Potential of Kashmir”, organized on Monday at SKICC, Srinagar.
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.
Referring to a recent report, the Lt Governor said that the unemployment rate of 16.1%, in September last year, has been reduced to 9% by March 2021. The tourism sector has a big role in reducing the unemployment rate here, which is far lower than other states like Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.
The Lieutenant Governor expressed his gratitude towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sanctioning Rs 786 crore for promotion of tourism and culture of Jammu & Kashmir, which is Rs 509 crore more than last year’s budget. He also thanked the Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Sh. Prahlad Singh Patel for providing continuous support and interventions for the development of various tourist destinations and human resources while involving all stakeholders.
The Lt Governor said that Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir has immense potential. It needs to be explored properly. There are many tourist places in Kashmir, which are the favorite destinations of the film industry since the 60s-70s.
But apart from that, there are hundreds of more unexplored places, which people are not aware of. He stressed on the need to promote unexplored sites of J&K, which have been left unattended by filmmakers.
“We are working towards developing state-of-the-art resources through public and private investment. The golden era of Kashmir would once again be brought back to the silver screen through the New Film Policy which is being announced by the J&K administration within a few days,” he added.
J&K Government has adopted a five-pronged approach for effective transformation of the tourism potential of J&K. A comprehensive mechanism is being laid down to provide the best facilities to corporate golfers, tourists and food connoisseurs, said the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor observed that despite setbacks faced due to Covid pandemic, the UT administration has taken sufficient steps for the revival of tourism in J&K and for providing employment to individuals associated with the sector.
The Lt Governor said that the discussions of today’s conference would prove beneficial in using the full potential of Kashmir Tourism as Wedding Destination, Film Tourism and MICE Tourist Management. Kashmir has high potential in these three areas.
He further said that a number of policy interventions have been made to provide financial support to various stakeholders from the tourism sector. To facilitate ease of travel, night time operations have also been allowed at the Srinagar Airport, he added.
Tourists these days want to connect with the locals and enjoy first-hand experience of the craft and culture and therefore, would like to prefer a wholesome experience over prefab tour packages. J&K has enough potential in this regard and sufficient promotion is needed for the same, the Lt Governor maintained.
The Lt Governor said that tourism industry is developing environmentally friendly, quality tourism based on natural and landscape values.
Experts from all over the world believe that transport sector and rural/ urban economies also benefit greatly through expansive cooperation in tourism sector. Lately, similar effects have started emerging in Jammu & Kashmir also, observed the LT Governor.
In his address, Union MoS, Prahlad Singh Patel said that this conference has been organised to improve the flow of tourists into Jammu and Kashmir, wherein all the stakeholders have been invited to meet, discuss and give suggestions to create better tourism infrastructure in entire J&K.
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.
Union Secretary Tourism, Arvind Singh 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, Sarmad Hafeez 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, Rupinder Brar 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.
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.