The Ministry of Tourism has organised a mega tourism promotion event in Srinagar “Tapping the Potential of Kashmir: Another Day in Paradise” from 11th -13th April, 2021.The Lt. Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, Shri Manoj Sinha and Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (I/c)Shri Prahlad Singh Patel inaugurated and virtually addressed the delegates at the event. 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) has organised 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 Shri Arvind Singh; Adviser to Lt. Governor of J&K, Mr Baseer Khan; Secretary Tourism, Govt of Jammu & Kashmir Mr Sarmad Hafeez; Additional Director General, MoT, Smt. Rupinder Brar and other senior officers were also present at the inaugural session.
During his virtual address, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel said that this event is a new endeavour by Tourism Ministry and other stakeholders to promote tourism in J&K. The Minister said that the country has seen a five time hike in tourists in January 2021 in comparison to January 2020 in Jammu and Kashmir. This initiative will further help to revive tourism in the UT. Shri Patel added that after the abolition of Section 370 and recovering from all the adverse conditions, tourists have started visiting J&K. Shri Patel further added that this place has archaeological, historical and natural beauty. We just need to promote them and these types of events play an important role by throwing up new ideas for creating better infrastructure.
In his virtual address , Shri Manoj Sinha said that first of all I would like to thank Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for giving Rs 786 crores in the budget this year for development of tourism in UT , which is 509 crore higher then last time. Shri Sinha also expressed his gratitude towards Union Culture & Tourism Minister Shri Prahlad Singh Patel for his full support in making efforts to restore tourism in the UT. Shri 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. Shri Manoj 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.
Shri Sinha further elaborated that for the transformation of the tourism sector, five pillars will remain the focus which includes sustainable development for the tourism industry, strengthening the hospitality sector, Human resource development, development of golf and populatisation of food.
Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Shri Arvind Singh said that the ‘Paradise on Earth’ is abundantly blessed with tourism potential. Tourism is one of the largest contributors to the economy of the Kashmir region as most of the economic activities are based on tourism and allied services, he added.
Shri Singh further said that COVID 19 pandemic has impacted the world in an unprecedented manner and brought it to a standstill. A drastic reduction in human mobility and tourism, suspension of international flights, the closure of airports and borders, 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 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 in the state.
Shri Arvind added that the Ministry under Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD has sanctioned projects for Rs.562.79 crore for development of Tourism infrastructure in the UT. Most of these projects are at a completion stage and once completed 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 among other initiatives taken for enhancing the tourist experience in Kashmir.
Shri Arvind further 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. Recently the direct flights have also started from Bangaluru and Ahmedabad to the valley and it has provided much awaited connection between North and South. Night flights to Srinagar have also started now. Ministry of Tourism has been pursuing the matter regarding improvement of road connectivity to important tourist destinations with the Ministry of Transport & Highways (MoRTH).
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.
Several interesting programmes, discussion sessions, technical tours, exhibitions, interactions are a part of the event including a B2B Session between your operators. There were presentations on Tourism Potential of Jammu & Kashmir, addressed by senior government dignitaries including Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and Shri 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.