Srinagar, April 9: “Sustained campaigns by the Tourism department coupled with other revolutionary measures towards tourism promotion in Jammu and Kashmir lured about 80 lakh tourists throng the UT to enjoy its scenic splendor and grandeur, from October to March 2022”.
The UT is witnessing steep rise in tourist influx to the picturesque world famous destination of the country due to various remarkable initiatives launched by the department under the guidance of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, to offer the tourists wide range of attractions.
Union government is supplementing the efforts of J&K tourism department with all the resources and necessary support. ‘Liberal funding of a record budget allocation of Rs 786 crore, Rs 509 crore higher than last budgetary allocation, speaks about volumes of the Union government’s keenness to boost tourism infrastructure and related services in Jammu and Kashmir’.
To offer tourists a peep into the hospitality of people, unique culture, traditions of countryside in J&K, Manoj Sinha launched J&K Tourist Village Network initiative to transform 75 villages of Jammu and Kashmir known for historical, picturesque beauty and cultural significance into tourist villages. The youth-led sustainable tourism initiative is also aimed to strengthen the rural economy and community entrepreneurship besides empowering youth and women by providing direct and indirect employment opportunities.
These 75 offbeat locations will provide the experience of nature’s wilderness to adventure seekers, trekkers and tourists and will also create a livelihood in the villages on forest environs through home-stays, nature guides, trek operators besides food stalls and forest souvenirs, an official said.
The Union Territory government is adopting best practices recognizing the uniqueness of each village and showcasing the landscapes, indigenous knowledge systems, cultural diversity and heritage, local values and traditions besides encouraging film shooting, offering financial incentives as well as ensuring a digital platform to all these villages.
Amid the tourist influx, the Srinagar International Airport has registered record flight operations. For example, on March 28, Srinagar airport operated 90 incoming and outgoing flights which ferried more than 15,014 visitors making it the busiest day in the airport’s history.
“Passenger footfall at Srinagar airport in December 2021 was 3,24415 and so has Jammu airport recorded the highest footfall,” a senior official of tourism department said. “The Jammu airport, one of the critical airports in the country, got 8,000ft-long runway operational which will be instrumental in the development of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The Srinagar- Sharjah direct flight was flagged off by Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, on October 23 last year to boost trade and tourism in J&K, has been a hit among international tourists and domestic tourists who add J&K to their Dubai itinerary.
It is pertinent to mention that LG Manoj Sinha highlighted the scope for cooperation between Jammu and Kashmir with the 34-member delegation of businessmen from UAE, Hong Kong and other GCC countries, which was on a four-day visit to the UT to explore investment opportunities, during Gulf Business Summit in Srinagar held to make ‘paradise on earth’ the most beautiful investment destination in the world.
“We promise to provide global standard end-to-end facilities for the businesses, skilled workforce, transparent and hassle-free regulatory mechanism and creation of necessary infrastructure wherever required,” Sinha said.
Under the smart city project, 20 religious sites in Srinagar have been earmarked for face lifting and renovation to attract a larger number of tourists. The focus area is the induction of modern technology to uplift the overall infrastructural standard of the city.
The government of Jammu and Kashmir in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India undertook the task of renovation, restoration and conservation work on Mubarak Mandi heritage complex, Amar singh Palace and twin sections of cable car project in Jammu to boost the tourism potential of Jammu city.
In a significant move, Jammu and Kashmir government launched a new film policy to boost tourism and investment in the union territory. The policy envisaged the setting of the Jammu and Kashmir film development council (JKFDC). The policy strives to create nationally competitive infrastructure in Jammu & Kashmir. It assures administrative assistance to ease filmmaking in the UT by setting up Single Window Cell to grant permission for shooting films, preferably within 2 to 4 weeks. The Indian film industry is rekindling its romance with Kashmir, a destination once a favorite of filmmakers and the audience alike. Soon, the Valley witnessed the cameras set on its blooming tulips, placid lakes, coniferous trees and the Dal Lake.
Also, Kashmir’s iconic Tulip Garden, one of the biggest in Asia where 1.5 million flowers are in bloom, witnessed an all-time high number of arrivals of visitors, locals as well as domestic tourists, this year since it was opened to the public in 2007.
Meanwhile, the Tulip garden at Sanasar in Ramban district, spread over 40 Kanal of land, set against the backdrop of picturesque hills marks the beginning of a new tourist season in Jammu region.