New Delhi: Tourism in Kashmir, which was hit by massive floods in 2014, is back on track and Jammu and Kashmir government is working to promote more tourist destinations and launch more chopper services to boost the sector, a top state official has said.
Tourism Secretary Farooq Shah, who is busy promoting the state ahead of the summer season, said the government is exploring high-altitude lakes and pilgrimage destinations such as Parmandal in Jammu, which he described as “Little Kashi”, to promote among tourists.
“We are also going to start Mughal safari that will go from Jammu to Rajouri through Mughal road. The road is now open. We will put in caravan tourism from Jammu to Mughalwada.
Also, in some parts of the state, we are going to focus on rural tourism. We are going to develop some villages,” he told the media at an event to promote the state’s tourism.
The government is inviting private helicopter operators to run their services, he said, adding they will be given helipad and other facilities.
Shah said the tourism sector, which contributes to the state’s economy in a big way, has recovered after being hit by the 2014 floods.
“Between April and December last year, we received 9.5 lakh tourists,” he said.
The floods had created “wrong perceptions” in the minds of potential tourists about the state, he said.
“The floods created wrong perception about the state’s infrastructure which indeed affected tourism sector to some extent, but things were back to normal within months,” he said.
To promote tourism, his department will organise road shows in different cities and put up hoardings with slogans like “see J&K in a new light” and also work on improving infrastructure, Shah said.
He added that national highway authorities are also upgrading road network from Jammu to Srinagar and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.