Published on: July 27, 2023 @ 21:37
Reporter: Aniruddha Pal
SPT News, Kolkata, July 27: Jammu and Kashmir has once again topped the tourism map of the country. Kashmir has always been on the top of the list of choice for tourists from home and abroad. At the recently held TTF in Kolkata, it was seen that the stalls of Jammu and Kashmir were more crowded than the stalls of other state tourism organizations. Here, Sangbad Prabhakar Times met the, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. Ahsan Chisti. He focused on various aspects of Jammu and Kashmir tourism. He said that the arrival of tourists this time will surpass the previous one as well.
Now we emphasize on adventure tourism – Dr. Chisti
Deputy Director of Jammu and Kashmir tourism Dr. Ahsan Chisti told SPT- Jammu and Kashmir tourism department has now taken many initiatives regarding tourism. Now we emphasize on adventure tourism. I am trying to attract the attention of tourists especially by discovering new destinations in Jammu and Kashmir. Right now we are looking at a total of 75 new destinations. We got an award for this last year.”
“We are currently focusing on adventure tourism, mice tourism, especially made-in tourism. This year we have had several corporate events in Jammu and Kashmir. Those corporate bodies have organized their annual meetings. Looking at all this, we feel that Jammu and Kashmir tourism is on the upswing.”
“We have already started many adventure tourism activities like angling, trekking, paragliding, snowboarding, snow cycling, kayaking etc. Gulmarg, Pahelgao, Dudhpatni, Bangus are also attracting a lot of domestic tourists,” he said. More facilities will be added to Mansbal Lake to attract foreign and domestic tourists.
“Currently the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is very favourable. Everyone is visiting here now. That’s the big thing. People’s interest and enthusiasm has increased. Chisti added.
Very good response from Bengal – Dr. Chisti
Tourists of Bengal are very well known in the country and abroad. Bengalis love to travel. Therefore, Bengal is under the attention of all state tourism organizations as well as international tourism organizations. Deputy Director of Kashmir Dr. Ahsan Chisti said – “There has been a very good response from Bengal. Many people are coming. Especially the puja holidays ahead. At that time we expect more people to come from here. Bengal is our state tourism partner.”
J&K recorded 1.88 crore tourist arrivals last year
Tourist arrivals in Kashmir were very good last year. This year we expect the number of tourist arrivals to surpass last year. Around 15,000 foreign tourists have already visited the Kashmir Valley in the first six months of this year, a huge increase from 4000 foreign tourists visiting UT in the whole of 2022. A record 1.88 crore tourist arrivals were recorded in J&K last year, the highest ever since independence. Said Dr. Chisti.
Tourists from East Asia, Europe, USA are coming to Kashmir
“Tourists from East Asia, Europe, USA are coming to Kashmir. They love adventure tourism here and stay in houseboats on Dal Lake. The natural beauty of the hills of Jammu and Kashmir is a major attraction for foreign tourists. Our government has come up with several new tourism policies like promoting 75 offbeat destinations and adding 50,000 rooms in homestays for additional attractions,” he added.
Not only does the homestay policy aim at sustainable tourism efforts but also at preserving the local environment and generating local livelihoods and boosting the rural economy, said Dr. Chisti added.