Encouraged by the extraordinary revival of domestic tourism in Jammu and Kashmir in recent months despite the COVID pandemic in India, the Tourism Ministry is evolving a holistic plan to set global standards in sustainable tourism. This entails identifying niche products like golf, culinary, wellness segment, wedding tourism and putting in place a film policy soon to bring back the glory of Kashmir in cinema.
According to Tourism Ministry statistics, Jammu and Kashmir has seen a five fold increase in tourist arrivals in January 2021 compared to the corresponding period last year.
Delivering a virtual address to a two day seminar ‘Tapping the tourism potential of Kashmir: Another day in Paradise’, the Tourism Minister, Mr Prahlad Patel said that this initiative will further help to revive tourism in the UT. The Minister said that after the abolition of Section 370 and recovering from all the adverse conditions, tourists have started visiting J&K. He added that this place has archaeological, historical and natural beauty.” We just need to promote them and these type of events play an important role by throwing up new ideas for creating better infrastructure.”
Secretary Tourism, Mr Arvind Singh who has is on his second visit to J&K this year, said that the Centre has always accorded priority to this region while allocating resources. We saw domestic tourism reviving in some parts of the country and Kashmir and we want to make efforts to ensure that this revival that happened in winter should continue in the summer season and should assist in the recovery process. This excellent revival shown by domestic tourists should set an example as and when we open up the international visa for people to travel to India. Kashmir continues to be a focus area of the Government of India and the Ministry under Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD has sanctioned projects for Rs.562.79 crore for development of Tourism infrastructure in the Union Territory. Most of these projects are at a completion stage and once completed, these will fulfill the vision of ministry of providing enhanced experience to visitors at tourist destinations. The laser Show at Dal lake is one of such initiative of Ministry for enhancing the tourist experience in Kashmir.
The Tourism Secretary said that Tourism is one of the largest contributors to the economy of the Kashmir region as well as to Jammu. “ All of us know how the pandemic has affected tourism. Reduction in human mobility and tourism, suspension of international flights, closure of airports and borders and the adoption of strict restrictions on travel etc. have caused a prolonged crisis for all the segments of the economy and more so to the tourism industry. However, signs of recovery have been witnessed. Srinagar has witnessed record tourist visits since December 2020 and as per information all the hotels are completely booked till June 2021. This is a very encouraging news. I am happy for this opportunity to revive Tourism in the state and partner with the stakeholders to develop tourism in the state thereby also providing with employment opportunities to the youth here,” he said.
Mr Singh said that the connectivity is another focus area and the Ministry is working tirelessly with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Ministry of Civil Aviation
Advisor to Lt. General of J&K , Shri Bashir Ahmad Khan said that he is very confident that the event is going to be very fruitful and provide 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.
In her remarks, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Ms Ropinder Brar said that all of us have grown on films of the 60s and 70s which never use to not have some part of Kashmir in them. She said that it is very heartening that domestic tourism has been picking up by leaps and bounds in the past few months in all parts of J&K.
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.