Srinagar: Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, on Thursday called for coordinated efforts from several quarters to boost tourism in Bhaderwah area of Jammu region.
“Concerted efforts were needed to spiral tourist footfall by packaging ‘Chota Kashmir’ as an independent leisure destination,” Mufti, according to an official communiqué, said at a meeting after inaugurating the Bhaderwah Tourism festival.
He said that efforts were needed to bring hidden destinations like Bhaderwah on the tourism canvas of the state. “In this regard, creation of high-end tourism infrastructure as capital-intensive is must and we need to rope in the private players for the purpose.”
He said that public-private partnership in tourism sector will not only spur investment but also sustain local economy by creating job opportunities. “The footprint of tourists won’t increase unless advance planning is done to launch destinations like Bhaderwah and Jai. The optimal use of our existing assets will help make tourism a revenue-generating industry,” he stated.
He also asked to the Tourism department to hold a travel-trade conference on November 15 there “in order to showcase Bhaderwah, Jai, Padri, Seoj and Kailash Kund as one-circuit destination”.
“Leading tour operators should be invited for familiarity tours to obtain firsthand appraisal.”
He said described Bhaderwah at par with Kashmir and said that it wasan ideal leisure destination which can attract tourists from neighbouring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in large numbers.
Mufti also called for setting up of a clubhouse with composite facilities of conferencing, leisure, recreation and indoor sports, besides suites and rooms at Bhaderwah.
He said that cluster of huts should be established to improve tourist holding capacity.
He also asked the secretary Tourism to prepare a DPR for an amusement park at Jai.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, Minister for Forest & Social Welfare, Bali Baghat, Minister of State for R&B and Revenue, Sunil Kumar Sharma and others were present on the occasion.
Mufti also said that relatively small number of students pursue studies at the Jammu University’s Bhaderwah Campus. “There is an urgent need to optimally utilise the huge infrastructure and the human resource deployed at the campus by attracting a much larger number of students.”
He also said that a skill development institute will be set up in Chenab Valley to enhance the prospects of employability in the region.