SRINAGAR: In order to promote farm tourism and add new tourism product, the department of tourism Kashmir organized a FAM trip of the Valley’s tour operators and houseboat owners to Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH) at Rangret where different varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Director CITH Desh Beer Singh along with his scientists took the delegation of around 30 persons from travel industry to the tour of the nurseries and farms and showed them large numbered of high yielding varieties of the fruits and vegetables.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah who led the travel trade fraternity to center said farm tourism can be explored as an added attraction for tourists in Srinagar.
“Besides having natural beauty, J&K is the only state in the country where almonds and saffron grow. We also have monopoly in other fruits like walnut and apple. CITH has grown hundreds of high-yielding varieties of fruits and vegetables here which we can exploit for tourism purposes. This center is close to airport and is also in Srinagar which means we don’t have to send tourist to far off villages to show them orchards,” said Director Tourism.
The Director Tourism said farm tourism in Kashmir has huge potential which needs to be promoted.
“Tourists in Kashmir want to make the purchase of apple, walnut, almonds, saffron which are known world over for their taste and quality. Tourists used to buy such products from markets. Here they can have farm tour and get the fresh fruit from directly from the orchards,” said Director Tourism.
He said the fruit blooms and flowering in different seasons here can also be promoted in a big way throughout the year.
The farm spread over hundreds of kanals of land has over 250 varieties of apple, 400 varieties of walnut, 100 varieties of almonds, 50 varieties of apricot, 30 varieties of peach, 30 varieties of plum, 10 varieties of cherry, 18 varieties of olive crops, 6 varieties of kiwi, besides hazel nuts and other fruits and vegetables.
Director Tourism said now travel agents have seen by themselves tourism potential of this place which they will be adding in their tour itineraries.”
“Even some of the fruit varieties like avocado, kiwi and olive are grown here which is a new thing in Kashmir. Tourist can spend last day of their tour here and can easily reach airport and board the return flight in the afternoon,” said Director Tourism Kashmir.
The center has also established museum showcasing the different varieties of the fruits and crops which can be a good learning experience for the tourists.
Later an interaction of the travel agents with Director CITH Desh Beer Singh was held at center’s conference hall where the travel agents provided suggestions and feedback for promoting the place among tourists.
Director CITH assured them that all possible steps will be taken for making it a tourist attraction. He also agreed to allow tourists to visit the orchards and nurseries and provide them information about the crops.
The travel agents expressed surprise over the varieties of fruit and vegetable available at CITH and said they would promote the center for horticulture tourism. They also appreciated the efforts of the Director Tourism for exploring new tourism products and inviting them to CITH.