Srinagar, August 01: The government has initiated several steps to boost adventure tourism activities across Jammu and Kashmir and already several steps are afoot to tap that potential by exploring new trekking routes.
The remarks were made by Secretary Tourism and Culture Departments, Sarmad Hafeez while flagging off a group of working professionals from Mumbai and local NGO for sanitation and cleanliness drives along Great Lakes Trek in collaboration with the Tourism Department.
Speaking on the occasion, Sarmad Hafeez said that Jammu and Kashmir has vast potential for tourism activities and adventure tourism has been given priority. “The government has opened new trekking routes across J&K to give a boost to adventure tourism and several other steps have been initiated to tap that potential,” he said.
Highlighting the government initiatives to make tourism activities more secure, he said the department has vaccinated more than 90 percent tourism stakeholders to prepare them to deal with the challenges of Covid-19 besides employees of department and other allied workers have also been inoculated.
He said the department is in the process of organizing capacity building programmes on implementation of Covid protocols for all the stakeholders associated with the sector at tourist places like Dal Lake, Pahalgam, Gulmarg and other destinations.
Remarking about tapping the tourism potential to its fullest, Sarmad Hafeez said the department is identifying, exploring and developing hidden and virgin tourist destinations here to provide visitors with more options for recreation and adventurous activities.
Meanwhile, during the week-long trek, the group would conduct sanitation and cleanliness drives along the famed trekking route. The group will move from Sonmarg to Thajwas and will cover places like Naran Nag, Kishen Sar, Vishen Sar and Gangabal.
The Tourism Department has provided all logistic support to the group for the purpose. The members of the group include professionals, businessmen, researchers, bankers from Mumbai who have undertaken the cleanliness drive along the trek in collaboration with a local NGO.
Speaking on the occasion, Director Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. G N Itoo said the department has initiated several initiatives to tap the potential of lesser-known destinations and in future more such activities will be carried out to make each and every place attractive for tourists.
Senior officers of the department and a large number of volunteers were present on the occasion.
Later, the Secretary Tourism held a meeting with various tourism stakeholders. He impressed upon them to uphold the highest traditions of hospitality for which Jammu & Kashmir is known for. He asked the tourism stakeholders to welcome the tourists with open arms so that they go back with good memories.
He asked them to keep watch on hoarding and over charging so that the tourists don’t face any inconvenience and are facilitated at each level.
The Secretary further said the government is doing hand-holding of stakeholders on all fronts so that they are able to cope with the challenges of post-Covid business environment.
He asked them to avail benefits of various government-sponsored schemes and incentives made available from time to time.