Srinagar, Feb 14: After setting up guidelines for travel companies, the Department of Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir has opened up the formal registration of Adventure Tour Operators in the State.
As per the Government order issued by the Department of Tourism, the prospective Adventure Tour Operators within the State can apply for registration as Adventure Tour Operators to carry out land, water and air based adventure activities like All Terrain Vehicles, Cycling, Motor Cycle Tours, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing/Artificial wall climbing, Skiing/Snowboarding, Trekking, Zip Paragliding, Rafting/ Kayaking etc.
Rigzin Samphel, Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Tourism Department said there is a strong demand from Tour Operators within the State to allow them to carry out adventure activities in a formal manner.
“The absence of the guidelines for formal registration of Adventure Tour Operators was the major hurdle in promoting adventure activities in the State. As per the Commissioner/Secretary, the new provision would lead to growth of Tourism activities and employment in all the three Divisions of the State,” he said.
Rigzin Samphel said Jammu and Kashmir has great potential for Adventure Tourism.
“However, the absence of Adventure Tourism specific Guidelines has hampered the growth of this sector otherwise having immense potential. The Department has formulated the guidelines for Registration/Renewal of Adventure Tour Operators willing to undertake the following activities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
He said These Guidelines which covers these activities are the outcome of the due deliberations and consultation with Director Tourism Kashmir, Director Tourism Jammu, Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering Gulmarg, Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering & Winter Sports Pahalgam, Dy. Director/Assistant Director Tourism, Jammu/Kashmir and the suggestions and recommendations of Adventure Tour Operator Associations of Jammu/ Kashmir and All Ladakh Tour Operator Association (ALTOA).
Guidelines of MOT, GOI & Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) and other globally prevailing good practices have been referred while framing the guidelines for registration/renewal of Adventure Tour Operators for Jammu and Kashmir.
Samphel said guidelines will encourage quality standard and service in this category so as to promote safe Adventure Tourism in J&K.
The interested tour operator can submit the application for approval in person to Assistant Director Tourism/Tourist Officer of concerned area or prescribed Authority/Authorized officers of Tourist Resorts having defined jurisdiction as defined under J&K Tourist Trade Act or Rules or Government order.
The Registration as an approved Adventure Tour Operator shall be granted by the prescribed Authority of Department of Tourism for one year initially following the laid down procedures as in the case of Travel Agency.
The department has also constituted Advisory Committee comprising the Director Tourism Kashmir / Jammu as Chairman, Principal JIM, WS Pahalgam, IISM or their representative as member, Deputy Director Tourism Registration as member, Deputy Director Recreation/Adventure as Member Secretary while as two experts from adventure activities will also be nominated by Chairman as member.
The technical committee shall meet at least once in three months every year which will identify the new adventure area and also to fix carrying capacity of Area for particular activity keeping in view the ecological balance of that destination. It would also suggest measures for identifying new tourist destinations and to develop versatile adventure circuits for tourists.