SRINAGAR: Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti on Saturday stressed for focusing on sustainable and eco-friendly interventions for the development of adventure tourism, besides generating employment avenues for the locals.
The minster was addressing a meeting convened with the consultants to review the developmental scenario of the adventure tourism circuit of the state under ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’.
According to a handout, various initiatives are under way to enable Jammu & Kashmir become the most sought after tourist destination in India by developing interactive, inclusive and sustainable model of tourism by leveraging the natural assets of the state.
The consultants presented a comprehensive presentation to apprise the minister about the plan and concept for promoting and developing the adventure tourism destinations including, Basholi, Sarthal, Baglihar Dam, Nagrota, Akhnoor, Reasi, Yusmarg, Gulmarg and Gurez valley.
Six projects have been sanctioned by Government of India for the state under PMDP-1 ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ and the sanctioned project cost is Rs 569.19 crore out of which Rs 113.83 crore has been released so far, the handout read.
Tassaduq Mufti said that the natural topography and climate factors enable the state to develop adventure tourism infrastructure facilities for various adventures like trekking, rock climbing, paragliding, water skiing and other winter sports.
He asked the concerned officers of the tourism department to come up with innovative packages to promote tourism by attracting tourists belonging to different age groups.
The minister stressed for taking innovative measures for increasing the tourist footfall, besides enhancing the stay durations by motivating the visitors to spend more time in the state. He also directed for introducing day trips and weekend destinations for outdoor adventure sports lovers across the state.
Mufti said that the state had huge potential in adventure and the department should focus on creation of adventure tourism based infrastructure that helps in attracting adventure lovers from across the world.
He asked for developing tourism infrastructure keeping in mind its relevance to the area, without disturbing the natural essence of a place and its surrounding ecology, besides maintaining natural assets by minimising the civil work intervention to maintaining rich heritage, habitat, diverse flora and fauna existing in the state.
The development strategy would involve comprehensive development at locations which shall provide a boost to local economy. The plan would focus to develop optimal infrastructure in the proposed locations and would also focus on activity based developments in the locations for maintaining ecological balance of these places, read the handout.
The plan has proposed integrating the non-tangible tourism assets like arts, crafts, local cuisines, traditional music and dance, besides enhancing abilities of local community for operation , maintenance and overall management of interventions, it added.