Tourism Department propagates policy initiatives, investment opportunities in J&K

Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed unprecedented growth in the recent past with a slew of historic initiatives being launched by the government here for steering the sector to new highs.

The UT administration under the guidance of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, is making appropriate policy interventions to create investment opportunities in J&K for creating new infrastructure facilities and upgrade the existing ones through Private Participation for overall growth of Tourism sector to generate more employment opportunities.

To achieve the objective, J&K Tourism department is all geared up to upscale its activities to promote Tourism and open up new verticals for which active engagement between the stakeholders from J&K and other states/UTs shall be organized on regular basis in all the regions of the country.

In this regard, the department being headed by Secretary Tourism, Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, carried forward the promotional campaign in the southern states of Karnatka and Tamil Nadu regarding the diverse tourism products, newly launched 300 destinations including off beat destinations, trekking routes, religious circuits, arts and crafts, new initiatives and policies of the UT administration, particularly regarding the investment opportunities and the investible projects.

Recently, Special Secretary Tourism, Amarjeet Singh, participated in 18th Hotel Investment Conference South Asia (HICSA) at Bengaluru, as part of the delegation of Ministry of Tourism, led by Union Tourism Minister, G Kishan Reddy.

HICSA is an annual event that brings together a diverse range of participants from the hospitality, real estate and investment industries including hotel owners, operators, investors, financiers, developers, architects, consultants, and other professionals from South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States to promote the development of new business opportunities and investment partnerships.

On the sidelines of the main summit, round table meetings were held by the delegation with the Industry partners to understand the challenges faced by them.

Quoting the tourist numbers, Union Minister appreciated the unprecedented growth of Tourism Sector in Jammu and Kashmir. Through individual networking sessions, potential investors were informed about the Policy Initiatives and Investment opportunities in view of the Industry status accorded to the Tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the exponential growth in Tourism Sector in the UT.

Networking sessions with the stakeholders in Tourism and Hospitality Sector were conducted in state of Tamil Nadu as well. The visiting officer reached out to the travel partners at Highland Accord resort in Ooty and interacted with the delegation led by President Nilgiri Hotel and Restaurant association and others regarding the best responsible Tourism practices in the Nilgiri District, where a complete ban on use of polythene, plastic water bottles and other kind of single use plastic has been successfully implemented. Hotels are not providing any plastic bottles, and instead Filtered RO water is being used in glass bottles. Demand of drinking water at public/tourist places is being met through Water ATMs. Civil society members and people in Travel business are collectively engaged in enforcement to promote responsible Tourism practices for sustainability of Tourism Industry in Nilgiris.

Discussions were also held with members of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India regarding Adventure activities. Officer also visited the Adventure parks, the wax Museum, Camera museum and other attractions. The delegation interacted with the operators about the feasibility and sustainability of these projects. The operators informed that with setting up of Adventure parks and museums, the Tourism activity has increased in the area and stay of the visitors got extended.

Adventure tour operators were informed about the potential and Investment opportunities for setting up similar facilities in J&K where incentives are available for setting up such projects.

The officer also visited a sustainable project Doddabetta Tea factory, where the local produce (tea) of the area is being popularized through showcasing the live processing of tea making, setting up of a Tea museum depicting the history of legendary origin of tea and its journey to India and other parts of the world and sale of authentic local products providing job opportunities to more than 100 local people.

Another networking event was held in Hotel Residency Tower at Coimbatore where the Travel bodies led by the President, Travel Agents Association of Coimbatore, K. Bharathi, immediate past president, B. Selvaraju, and others participated.

A presentation was made showcasing the Tourism potential of UT of Jammu and Kashmir, and the travel trade fraternity requested to motivate the tourists to visit the newly launched off beat destinations which are equally beautiful and serene.

The participants were also informed about the Homestay Policy, Film Policy -2021 and the Industry Status accorded to the Tourism Sector in J&K UT which makes investments made in the sector eligible for incentives as per Industrial Policy. The trade members have shown keen interest in the investment opportunities in the UT.

President TAC informed the visiting officer that the association is annually mobilizing hundreds of tourists to Jammu and Kashmir from the State of TN as the UT is a preferred tourist destination. He lauded the efforts of J&K Tourism department for support and co-ordination through active and continuous engagement with the travel trade.

The travel fraternity also presented their grievances and feedback on the services being offered to tourists in J&K and made important suggestions for further improvements in certain areas. TAC members also requested for holding a mega road show at Coimbatore.

The visiting officer thanked the Travel trade fraternity for their support in promotion of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and for their interest in the investable projects. He also appreciated their useful insight on some of the important issues concerning J&K Tourism and assured the members that appropriate interventions shall be made wherever required for improvement in service delivery. He also assured the Travel trade on holding road show in the region in near future with the involvement of stakeholders from Jammu and Kashmir as well, so as to adopt the practices which enhance the experience of the tourists visiting J&K.

Later, a brief meeting was also held with the Travel operators of Chennai.

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