Srinagar, June 18: To spread the footfall of tourists beyond traditional destinations and reduce pressure on existing picturesque spots, the Government on Saturday said it has identified 75 untapped destinations across Jammu and Kashmir where basic tourism facilities will be provided to visitors.
It said such locations have been of good potential to attract huge influx of tourists but were untapped destinations so far on which the government is working upon, vigorously.
Speaking exclusively to Rising Kashmir, Secretary Tourism J&K Government, SarmadHafeez said the J&K government is working energetically upon promotion of tourism destinations and strengthening its infrastructure across J&K. He said the government has identified 75 untapped destinations across J&K so far with an aim to spread the footfall of tourists beyond traditional destinations.
He said with the promotion of new destinations the move will lessen the pressure on existing picturesque destinations also.
Secretary Tourism SarmadHafeez said with the rolling out of these new destinations, the Government will ensure basic tourism related facilities to the visitors to such spots. He said the basic infrastructure depending on the Unique Selling Point (USP) of these destinations will be augmented accordingly.
“What do these destinations have to offer? That is to keep attention on it. The basic facilities at every untapped destination are going to be upgraded”, he said.
To a query, he said the Government is trying to promote eco-tourism besides water sports tourism activities at these destinations shall also be promoted.
He said trekking, nature walks, outdoor activities, adventure tourism in forthcoming projects and plans will be taken care of.
About preparations, the Secretary Tourism said the Government has compiled an activity chart of every destination. “Keeping the specialty of the destination into mind, what sort of activities should happen at these places will be taken care of”, he said.
He added the Government is convincing people living in adjoining areas of these untapped destinations for home stays. “You know Kashmir is getting a huge arrival of tourists this year. All hotels, restaurants, houseboats and other places are already booked for upcoming months. So to ensure the stay of more tourists in the valley, we are trying to allure locals to open their residences for tourists so that they will get an easy stay here. This will lead to dignified livelihood of locals as well”, he said.
When asked what precautions are being taken for safeguarding ecology at these destinations, the Secretary Tourism told Rising Kashmir that sustainable development of the environment has always been our concern. “We are working on it through a multi-facet methodology. The locals are being taken into confidence. If they will agree upon home stays, the benefit of tourism activities shall be credited directly to locals”, he said.
He said the government wants to engage local youth into tourism related activities and in this regard several schemes for promotion of tourism activities in Jammu and Kashmir have been initiated by the government itself and Mission Youth as well.
He added if a group of local youth wish to form tourism related ventures will be helped financially so that they will earn their livelihood in a dignified way.
“For tourism related ventures they will be given rupees 10 lac as loan amount in which 50% amount will be subsidized. Also for home stays locals will be given 1 lac rupee loan in which 50 thousand rupees will be a subsidized amount”, he said.
He said the government will start capacity building programs at these destinations to make locals dedicated service providers in different categories. “Keeping the potential of locals into mind, the government will start guide training, help line desks, rafting training etc to make locals aware about the their professional duties”, he also said.
The Secretary Tourism maintained since the valley witnessed huge footfall of tourists, the benefit has reached to grassroots level and employment has generated massively as restaurants, hotels, vendors, shopkeepers etc., are reaping good benefits.
He added in the rolling out of new 75 untapped destinations, the locals of these areas will be given due space so that their business will get a new boom.