Srinagar, June 18: To expand tourist footfall beyond traditional destinations and reduce pressure on existing scenic spots, the government said on Saturday it had identified 75 untapped destinations across Jammu and Kashmir where basic tourist facilities will be provided to visitors.
He said these locations have good potential to attract a large influx of tourists, but so far they are untapped destinations that the government is working on vigorously.
Speaking exclusively to Rising Kashmir, Secretary of the J&K Tourism Government, Sarmad Hafeez said the J&K government is working vigorously to promote tourist destinations and strengthen its infrastructure through J&K. He said the government had so far identified 75 untapped destinations through J&K in a bid to expand tourist footfall beyond traditional destinations.
He said that with the promotion of new destinations, the move will also reduce pressure on existing scenic destinations.
Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez said that with the rollout of these new destinations, the government will provide basic tourism facilities to visitors to these sites. He said the basic infrastructure dependent on the unique selling point (USP) of these destinations will be increased accordingly.
“What do these destinations have to offer? It’s to keep the focus on it. Basic facilities at each untapped destination are going to be upgraded,” he said.
On a question, he said that the government is trying to promote ecotourism in addition to water sports tourism activities in these destinations.
He said trekking, nature walks, outdoor activities, adventure tourism in future projects and plans will be supported.
On the preparations, the tourism secretary said the government had compiled a table of activity of each destination. “Keeping in mind the specialty of the destination, the type of activities that should take place at these locations will be supported,” he said.
He added that the government is convincing people living in nearby areas of these untapped destinations for home stays. “You know that Kashmir receives a huge influx of tourists this year. All hotels, restaurants, houseboats and other places are already booked for the coming months. So to ensure more tourists stay in the valley, we are trying to entice the locals to open their residences to tourists so that they can have an easy stay here. It will also lead to dignified livelihoods for locals,” he said.
When asked what precautions are taken to safeguard the ecology in these destinations, the Tourism Secretary told Rising Kashmir that environmental sustainability has always been our concern. “We are working on this through a multi-faceted methodology. Residents are trusted. If they agree on homestays, the profit from tourism activities will be credited directly to the locals,” he said.
He said that the government wants to engage the local youths in tourism-related activities and in this regard, several programs promoting tourism activities in Jammu and Kashmir have been launched by the government itself and Mission Youth as well.
He added that if a group of local young people want to set up businesses related to tourism, they will be helped financially so that they can earn a dignified living.
“For tourism-related businesses, they will get 10 lac rupees as the loan amount, 50% of which will be subsidized. Also, for home stays, locals will get a loan of 1 rupee lac in which 50,000 rupees will be a amount subsidized,” he said.
He said the government will launch capacity building programs in these destinations to make the locals into dedicated service providers in different categories. “Keeping in mind the potential of the locals, the government will start training guides, help desks, rafting training, etc. to sensitize the locals on their professional duties,” he also said. declared.
The tourism secretary has held on since the valley has seen a huge influx of tourists, the benefits have reached the local level and employment has been generated massively as restaurants, hotels, vendors, traders etc. , reap good benefits.
He added that in rolling out 75 new untapped destinations, people in these areas will get enough space for their business to experience a new boom.