Post Covid19: Kashmir received more tourists than other parts of country: LG

Mir BaseeratSrinagar, April 12: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Monday said Kashmir witnessed the highest number of tourist arrivals than the rest of the country post Covid-19 due to the strenuous efforts of the Jammu and Kashmir administration to revive the tourism sector.He was addressing a a mega tourism promotion event in Srinagar “Tapping the Potential of Kashmir: Another Day in Paradise”.The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in association with the Tourism Department of Jammu & Kashmir, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FICCI) and the Indian Golf Tourism Association (IGTA) is organising this event. The objective of the event is to showcase the myriad tourism products of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and promote tourism to Jammu & Kashmir as the destination for leisure, Adventure, Eco, Wedding, films and MICE Tourism. Secretary Tourism, GoI Arvind Singh; Adviser to Lt. Governor of J&K, Baseer Khan; Secretary Tourism, Govt of Jammu & Kashmir Sarmad Hafeez; Additional Director General, MoT, Smt. Rupinder Brar and other senior officers were also present at the inaugural session.He said besides promoting Jammu and Kashmir as a top tourist destination the administration is also exploring new destinations.“There is a focused attention on placing better infrastructure at new tourist places for memorable and hassle-free holidays of the travellers. We are also roping in private players for the infrastructure development in tourism,” he saidStating that many steps were taken to ensure ease of travel for the tourists for which he said night and direct flights were introduced at Srinagar airport. Manoj Sinha thanked Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for allocating Rs 786 crores in the budget this year for development of tourism in UT which is Rs 509 crore higher than last time. Sinha also expressed his gratitude towards Union Culture & Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel for his full support in making efforts to restore tourism in the UT. Sinha added that Jammu & Kashmir has a great tourism potential and the administration will come up with a new film policy very soon, which will bring back the golden film era to Jammu & Kashmir. Sinha explained that tourism has been badly hit by the pandemic. Keeping in mind health and other aspects of people involved, many measures have been taken to ensure safety of visiting tourists. Kashmir as a  destination for weddings, film tourism, MICE etc is looked forward to as it offers immense possibilities and he hoped  that the deliberations at the event will go a long way in showing the way forward.Manoj Sinha said that “New Film Policy for J&K” will be veiled within ten days with an aim to bring back the golden era on the silver screen.“The police entail a road map on how we can bring back the golden era of the 70s and 80s on the silver screen,” said Manoj Sinha.He said that Kashmir used to be the favourite Bollywood destinations of the film makers in the 60s, 70s and 80s and we will as a team work to bring back the same culture.LG said that serious efforts on the revival of tourism and a number of new tourist destinations are being explored.He said that the better tourism infrastructure at the new tourist places are being put into place, so that tourists can enjoy and explore new places hassle free.‘Tourists are coming to Kashmir not just to explore the places, but to connect with the people of the Valley as well,” said LG.Speaking on the occasion Advisor Baseer Khan said that Kashmir is all set for a bumper tourism season this summer as the winter tourism has already set the base.Baseer Khan said that the conference will be very fruitful and constructive to promote Kashmir’s tourism potential and the road map will be followed in spirit.He said he is very confident that the event is going to be very fruitful and provide a road map to achieving new heights in tourism.  Government of Jammu & Kashmir has finalised list of new destinations and is working to create necessary infrastructure to make these destinations popular.The department of Tourism had earlier conducted a series of road-shows and webinars to attract tourists and to promote Kashmir’s rich culture, tradition, ethos and tourism potential.“The promotion of tourism has gone well as the valley recorded a number of tourists coming to the valley in winter months,” said Khan.He said that a good number of tourist arrivals have encouraged the UT administration to go further to resurrect the tourism industry.Baseer Khan said that the number of tourist arrivals will increase manifold in the next three to four months when the rest of the states in India would blister in the scorching heat, Kashmir would witness a tourism boom.Khan said new tourist destinations are being explored and there is a long list before the UT administration. “Our primary focus is to ensure basic infrastructure at the new tourist destinations so that tourists enjoy their stay hassle free,” he said.Several interesting programmes, discussion sessions, technical tours, exhibitions, interactions are a part of the event.  There were presentations on Tourism Potential of Jammu & Kashmir, addressed by senior government dignitaries including Arvind Singh, Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary – Tourism, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir.Plenary Sessions on 12th April 2021 also included four Panel Discussions on the subjects, ‘Taking Kashmir to the next level as preferred tourist destination’, ‘Making Kashmir more eventful’, Showcasing the Diverse Tourism Products of Kashmir’ and ‘Wazwan,  Zaffran, and Shikara the story Continues…’ and a ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ with Master Chef Pankaj Bhadouria. The Department of Tourism, Government of Jammu & Kashmir also organized a Laser Show at the famous Dal Lake followed by a Cultural Programme.A Golf Tournament is also being organized at the picturesque Royal Springs Golf Course, Srinagar for important invitees including Diplomats from Kenya and Vietnam.GoI making better efforts to tap the tourism potential of JK: Union MoS TourismConference on Tourism organised to showcase the Myriad tourism products of J&K 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 the 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 a 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 with the right guidance from the office of LG and able support from the 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 the entire country will be blistering with temperature the tourists 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 maps 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 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.

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