Tremendous potential for heritage tourism in all three regions
NEW DELHI: Reaffirming Government’s vision to brand J&K as the premier global tourist destination Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar today said the Government is focussed on making J&K an elite eco-tourist destination and is committed to develop eco-friendly tourism infrastructure in the State.
The Minister was addressing a special session dedicated to J&K Tourism “The Paradise Awaits You”, at the one day Mail Today Tourism Summit, 2015, powered by Incredible India, Union Ministry of Tourism, here last evening.
Identifying tourism as one of the key priorities for the new government, Akhtar highlighted the urgent need to develop state-of-the-art infrastructure and promote new destinations in the picturesque Jammu and Kashmir. He said that every effort is being made to provide quality tourism infrastructure in the State so that new class of visitors is attracted to JK.
The Minister said that reputed groups like Taj, Lalit and local group Khyber have already set up high end infrastructure in Srinagar and even ITDC is in the process of tying up with local hoteliers in an endeavour to upgrade tourism infrastructure in the State.
The Minister said alongwith famous tourist destinations of the State, thrust is now being given to open new circuits, unseen and unexplored tourist destinations like Gurez, which is now open to tourists and regular packages are being offered to attract tourists to this beautiful valley.
The Minister said that focused attention is being given to promote Heritage Tourism in all the three regions of the State and Government will make all efforts to promote and package its potential. Srinagar is a living heritage city with many sites available to be developed as heritage tourist destinations, the Minister added.
Describing tourism as a binding force that joins several other key sectors like the famed handicrafts/handloom and food industry of Kashmir, Akhtar said heritage sector will also get a big boost by promotion of Shar-e-Khas of Srinagar city, adding that craft centres and other handicrafts are being promoted in the area.
The Minister said the Government in its endeavour to promote Heritage tourism Mughal City (Nagra Nagar) near Hari Parbat Fort is being developed and will be thrown open to tourists. He further said that Jhelum river front is also being promoted as a composite Kashmiri Cultural site having Shrines, Temples and Dogra heritage sites alongside the Bund of the River across the city.
Akhtar said Jammu is also being developed as an independent tourist destination, adding that plan to develop Mantalai as an international Yoga destination has already been set into motion. Other tourist destinations along with water bodies of Jammu are also being developed to make Jammu a unique tourist destination, the Minister said.
The Minister said that in a bid to promote Valley tourism, Chief Minister has announced ‘Kashmir Calling Package’ for visitors to boost occupancy levels this season. He said J&K Tourism will for the first time hold ‘Kashmir Travel Mart’ in the month of May to involve global as well as national buyers for promotion of distinct Tourism products of the State.
The Minister further said that for Bollywood, single window clearance have been launched on directions of the Chief Minister to provide permission to shoot in J&K, assuring that every facility will be provided to the film industry.
Director Tourism, Kashmir/MD,JKTDC Farooq Ahmad Shah, officers of Tourism Dept, representatives of Travel and Trade organizations and media people participated in the event.