In order to promote the various Tourism potentials of Jammu & Kashmir and to address the various opportunities in Travel, Tourism & Hospitality in the Union Territory Of Jammu & Kashmir the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India & Department of Tourism, Government Of Jammu & Kashmir in association with FICCI (Knowledge Partner), and IGTA organised a unique networking platform ‘Tapping the Tourism Potential of Kashmir: Another Day in Paradise’ recently at Srinagar. 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 objective of the event was 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.
The event received participation from who’s who from the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality sector, key Industry stakeholders and Policy makers from Kashmir and various parts of India.
A special event of one to one B2B meetings was also organized among key industry stake holders from Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Industry of Jammu and Kashmir and the delegates from rest of India at Srinagar. The meetings were attended by local tour operators, hoteliers, houseboat owners, transport companies and other key stake holders of Travel, Tourism & Hospitality from Kashmir as Sellers. The buyers included top notch Tour operators, DMC’s, Film personalities, Eco tourism specialists from various parts of India.
Addressing the gathering virtually during inaugural session Shri Manoj Sinha mentioned that the UT of J&K will come out with a new policy on Film shooting to attract film makers and promote the region as a hot spot film shooting destination.
Minister of State (IC) Tourism and Culture, Government of India, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel mentioned that the abrogation of Article 370 and other subsequent development works has given a big boost to tourist influx in the region.
Speaking on the occasion, Advisor to the Lt. Governor, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, Mr. Baseer Khan mentioned that it is encouraging to see that post lockdown the tourist footfalls at the UT of Jammu & Kashmir has increased significantly and coming 3-4 months during the summer season more tourists are expected to visit the destination. He also said that his Government is planning a long list of new destinations that could be showcased to attract more tourists.
Secretary of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Shri Arvind Singh said that they are keeping no stones unturned to revive tourism for Jammu and Kashmir, the effort started from the winter and the process will continue in summers especially for the domestic tourists.
Secretary- Tourism, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, Mr. Sarmad Hafeez, on the occasion highlighted some of the historical tourism sites in the region and their importance.
Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Smt. Rupinder Brar mentioned that the rise of domestic tourism is the sign of revival and the conference will deliberate upon the strategies to showcase best tourism products of Jammu & Kashmir to attract domestic tourists.
Director -Tourism, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, Dr. G.N. Itoo earlier made a presentation to the audience showcasing various tourist destinations of Jammu & Kashmir.
During plenary session on “Taking Kashmir to the next level as a preferred tourist Destination” the experts touched upon on various strategies on how best in a post pandemic world the tourists visit can be increased in the region. In other session on “Making Kashmir more eventful” the panel touched upon the Wedding, MICE and Film Tourism potential of Kashmir. In another session on “Showcasing the diverse Tourism products of Kashmir” the experts debated on the various niche tourism potentials of Kashmir including Culture, Heritage, Film, Leisure & Golf Tourism. In the session “Wazwan, Zaffran, and Shikara – the story continues…” the experts said that Kashmir should not be mentioned as a “Restricted Area” for any Foreign Tourists. Global experts can be consulted to develop Tourism in Kashmir. International destinations similar to Kashmir like Switzerland etc should be seen as a case study for the betterment of Tourism in Kashmir. To promote Kashmir as a Culinary tourism destination, separate visual strategies like a logo , video , images etc. related to food and cuisines should be considered.
To promote the Gastronomical Heritage of Kashmir the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India organized live cooking classes with Master Chef India winner and celebrity Chef Pankaj Bhadouria & Chef Ranveer Brar. Both the Chefs visited and procured ingredients from the local market of Srinagar and gave live demonstrations of their cooking skills in Kashmiri cuisine to delegates and students of the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Srinagar. The objective of the session was aimed at promoting the local culinary & cuisines of Kashmir to the rest of India and the world.
An Exhibition of various Kashmiri garments, embroideries and food were organized at the conference venue. Along with this there was a Shikara and boat ride at Dal Lake for the delegates, which was followed by a beautiful Laser Show cum musical fountain at the Dal Lake. The laser show project, which is now is permanent feature at the SKICC in Dal Lake, has been funded by the Ministry of Tourism.
The Tulip garden of Kashmir is a unique tourism site which has featured in several Bollywood films has the potential of attracting tourists from all over the world. It is the largest tulip garden in Asia spread over an area of about 30 hectares. It is situated on the foothills of Zabarwan Range with an overview of Dal Lake. The garden was opened in 2007 with the aim to boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir Valley. The best time to visit the Tulip Garden is between March-end and early April.
To promote Kashmir as an International Golf Tourism destination and to showcase the world class Golf Infrastructure of Kashmir, a Golf Tournament was organized at the Royal Spring Golf Course between the delegation of Golfers from various parts of India and local Golfers from Srinagar which was followed by an Award ceremony.
Kashmir has the potential to become India’s top and World’s one of the leading Golf Tourism destinations. Jammu & Kashmir offers outstanding opportunities for golf players all through the summer (April to November). Golfing in Jammu and Kashmir is always a delight and one of the main attractions among the tourists.
Ambassador of Vietnam H.E. Pham Sanh Chau who has been in various parts of the world compared the various natural beauty of Kashmir with various other natural beauty of the world incusing Canada, Switzerland, other parts of Europe, Vietnam and many more. As per him, one can find the beauty of the entire world in Kashmir itself.
High Commissioner of Kenya His Excellency Willy Kipkorir Bett and Spouse of High Commissioner of Kenya Her Excellency Faith Jemvtai Bett both were completely overwhelmed with the Royal springs Golf course of Srinagar and mentioned it as a world class Golf destination. Her Excellency Bett also mentioned that she has become a great fan of Kashmiri cuisines. She specifically mentioned that she will try out a few dishes at home.
Ambassador of Georgia H.E. Archil was overwhelmed by the beauty of Gulmarg and he enjoyed Skiing during his visit to Gulmarg. He mentioned the slopes at Gulmarg are ideal for skiing and is one of the best in the world.