SRINAGAR, MARCH 29: Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti today stressed for focusing on sustainable and eco-friendly interventions for the development of adventure tourism, besides generating employment avenues for the locals.
The Minster was addressing a meeting convened with the consultants to review the developmental scenario of the adventure tourism circuit of the state under ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’.
The meeting was apprised that various initiatives are underway to enable Jammu & Kashmir be the most sought after tourist destination in India by developing an interactive, inclusive and sustainable model of tourism by leveraging the natural assets of the state.
The consultants also presented a comprehensive presentation to apprise the Minister about the plan and concept for promoting and developing the adventure tourism destinations including, Basholi, Sarthal, Baglihar Dam, Nagrota, Akhnoor, Reasi, Yusmarg, Gulmarg, and Gurez valley.
During the meeting, it was informed that 6 projects have been sanctioned by Government of India for the State under PMDP-1 ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ and the sanctioned project cost is Rs 569.19 crore out of which Rs 113.83 crore has been released so far.
Addressing the meeting, Tassaduq Mufti said that the natural topography and climate factors enable the state to develop adventure tourism infrastructure facilities for various adventures like trekking, rock climbing, paragliding, water skiing and other winter sports.
He asked the concerned officers of the tourism department to come up with innovative packages to promote tourism in the area by attracting tourists belonging to different age groups.
The Minister stressed for taking innovative measures for increasing the tourist footfall, besides enhancing the stay durations by motivating the visitors to spend more time in the state. He also directed for introducing day trips and weekend destinations for outdoor adventure sports lovers across the state.
Mufti said that the state has huge potential in adventure and the department should focus on the creation of adventure tourism-based infrastructure that helps in attracting adventure lovers from across the world.
He asked for developing tourism infrastructure keeping in mind its relevance to the area, without disturbing the natural essence of a place and its surrounding ecology, besides maintaining natural assets by minimizing the civil work intervention to maintaining rich heritage, habitat, diverse flora and fauna existing in the state.
It was given out at the meeting that the development strategy will involve comprehensive development at locations which shall provide a boost to local economy. The plan will focus to develop optimal infrastructure in the proposed locations and will focus on activity-based developments in the locations for maintaining the ecological balance of these places.
Further, it was informed that the plan has proposed integrating the non-tangible tourism assets like arts, crafts, local cuisines, traditional music, and dance, besides enhancing abilities of the local community for operation, maintenance and overall management of interventions.
Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez, Director Tourism Kashmir, Mahmood A Shah, Consultants and concerned officers were present in the meeting.