J&K Tourism in aggressive mode to promote business this winter, starts with a people first approach

There is a perceptible thaw in the mood in the Valley. After months of closure and strains in the livelihood of its people, winter tourism seems on the rise with both government, industry and the local population keen on reviving the industry for its economic gains.   

farooq-shahJ&K has been always been in the forefront among states in tourism. This gets diluted every time there is unrest in the valley. The second half of 2016 witnessed continued unrest resulting in almost zero footfalls. With the return of normalcy, tourism is also fast witnessing a come back.

Of special interest to J&K watchers and specially of tourism in the valley was the unprecedented appeal from the Hurriyat requesting tourists to come to the valley. It was another matter that their appeal was also accompanied with a fresh calendar of shut downs and protests. Even then, it was unusual and a definite show of support for tourism and it augurs well for normalcy in the state. 

Tourism in the state is the major economic activity and winter tourism in particular can become the mainstay. Conversely, if tourism does not happen, it would be the Hurriyat to blame. Whatever be the politics, tourism stands to gain and remains critical to providing a lifeline to the local people in Srinagar and throughout Kashmir. In fact, in recent years, Jammu and Ladakh have also started attracting winter tourism. The tourist season could well become a 365 day affair. 

The Hurriyat’s call for resumption of tourism in the state was followed by a passionate plea by the CM herself, indicating a broad-based consensus cutting across the political spectrum in favour of tourism and normalcy.

Meanwhile, the state government has been relying heavily on domestic tourism and has not missed any opportunity to participate at trade shows and industry events throughout the country. Industry roadshows have been planned with major participation, led by the local industry in the state. 

The state government is specially looking to promote niche tourism in the adventure, MICE and golf segments and has been actively involved in meeting with target groups in
these verticals.

One such event was the 15-day J&K Tourism Food Craft and Culture Festival 2016 at Dilli Haat in the capital, organized by J&K Tourism in collaboration with department of handicrafts.

The festival was inaugurated by MoS Tourism, Priya Sethi who invited the audience to make the most of forthcoming winter in visiting the state. Chairman Hoteliers Club Mushtaq Chaya and President Travel Agents Society of Kashmir Ibrahim Siah, other senior officials of tourism department, government of J&K, travel trade, association members of ADTOI, IATO, TAAI, TAFI and other travel & tourism fraternities, media and the large number of visitors at Dilli Haat were also present on the inaugural day.

Speaking on the occasion, Priya Sethi said that J&K has a variety of products to offer to varied taste of travellers and the department is equipped with all the facilities to cater to the visitors to the state. Sethi said that the department is holding winter carnival and snow festival in Kashmir as part of its busy winter calendar to invite winter tourism lovers and she urged the people to come experience this season in J&K.

Besides, the department will also hold adventure sports activities in Gulmarg and Pahalgam to attract adventure lovers, the Minister added.

The display of the state’s varied cuisines including Kashmiri Wazwaan, traditional food items from Ladakh and Jammu regions emerged as the prime attraction of the event. 

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