Srinagar: The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India on Tuesday conferred Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department with the National Tourism Award for 2012-13 for the second year running, according to an official handout.
It said the Tourist Department bagged the award in the category ‘Best State–Comprehensive Development of Tourism”, and the award was presented by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in New Delhi.
“This (award) has been possible as the department completed CFA Schemes within the stipulated time and also had mechanisms in place to monitor the progress of projects,” the handout said.
It said the Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir implemented major projects like the Nagar Nagar Mega Heritage Tourist Circuit, Tourist City Centre at Srinagar and also introduced niche activities like paragliding and yachting to add new dimension to the adventure segment.
Promotional activities were undertaken in new potential markets like South East Asia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, Russia and Central Asian Countries of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and others, it said.
The Jammu Directorate earned laurels for developing Border Tourism and for revitalization of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex. “Ladakh continues to attract tourists for its unparalleled landscape and unique culture,” the handout said.
It said the Jammu & Kashmir Cable Car Corporation commissioned a new lift at Makhdoom Sahib Shrine, Srinagar besides installing ski chairlift at Kongdori, Gulmarg for promoting Skiing in international markets.
Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation made functional its new property at Yousmarg and also augmented facilities at its hutments elsewhere. SKICC, Srinagar hosted several International and National Conferences and earned praise from all quarters regarding immaculate conduct of these events, the handout said.
It said a golf development and management authority was constituted and Royal Springs Golf Course easily held-on to its status as the most cherished course in the country. The Leh Golf Course, when ready, “will be the most inimitable course in the world.”
“The role of Tourism Development Authorities deserves special mention as they had a challenging task of creation of assets in regions that were new and ecologically fragile and thus required focused development strategy,” the handout said.
The state has successfully implemented Rural Tourism Projects in 33 villages to showcase the Rural Landscape and Tourism potential of the remote villages of the State and to ensure disposal of economic earnings to the hinterland as well.
Tourism Department has undertaken the challenging task of capacity building and service delivery improvements. About 5000 unemployed youth have been trained in Hospitality & Tourism services in various Tourism Institutes to serve the Tourism industry in a more professional manner.
The State has earned fame for developing Niche Tourism activities in Golf, Aero Sports, Water Sports and Skiing/Snow-boarding. State has hosted National Championships in White Water Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Skiing, Snowboarding, Cycling, Mountaineering, Car Rallies and many rural sports like Archery, Polo, Boat Racing and others, the handout said.
“Tourist arrivals have shown an upward trend in the last few years, touching an all-time high of 1.3 million in Kashmir in 2012. An investment of Rs 3614 lakhs and Rs 3369 lakhs has been made on infrastructure development in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively. Mega projects being implemented in the near future are Development of Sofi Circuit, Development of Mughal Road and Development of Buddhist Heritage Circuit,” the handout added.