Webinar on Disaster Risk & Tourism Sector held

Srinagar:Webinar on Disaster Risk and Tourism Sector was held today which was jointly organized by National Institute of Disaster Management, (NIDM), J&K State Emergency Operation Centre, Srinagar, in collaboration with the J&K Tourism Department, Divisional Administration Kashmir, Institution of Engineers J&K State Centre and J&K Mountaineering and Hiking Club.
The speakers on the occasion were Mahmood Ahmed Shah, President Mountaineering and Hiking Club, Dr Ahsan-ul-Haq Chisti, Deputy Director Tourism, Kashmir and Manzoor Ahmed Wangnoo from Nigeen Lake Conservation Organisation.
The Patrons, Maj Gen Manoj K. Bindal Executive Director, National Institute of Disaster Management, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K. Pole and Er Narendra Singh, President, Institution of Engineers conveyed their messages for the success of the event.
The moderators were Dr. Anil Kumar Gupta, Professor & HOD from NIDM and Er Aamir Ali, Chairman Institution of Engineers.
The webinar was conducted by Er M. Aaquib Sultana Waheed Deva Honorary Secretary IEI and Fatima Amin Young Professional NIDM, with the coordination of Mohammed Suhail Wani and Bilquues Dar, Consultants Disaster Management.
Speaking on the occasion Er. Aamir Ali said that the objective of the Webinar was to sensitise all the stakeholders involved in the tourism sector, to improve their disaster resilience for ensuring effective emergency response and to improve the risk communication between the Government, the private tourism players, the tourists and the local community. He said that tourism industry operates in a dynamic environment that involves many interconnected sectors and is vulnerable to unexpected disasters and crises, in the form of natural disasters like Earthquakes, Floods, Avalanches, Landslides etc., and even health threats like the current Global Coronavirus Pandemic as well as political unrest or Law & Order situations. He said that COVID-19 has paralysed the global economy on an unprecedented scale and no one knows what the long-term implications will be, but it is widely accepted that its impact will be severe across many industries, including tourism.
The experts said that Pilgrimage tourism also poses serious threats, particularly in view of Covid-19, as has been observed in the recent Kumbh Mela, after which there has been a significant spike in the Corona related cases which has crippled the health response system. Pilgrims travel to J&K for the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine and Annual Shri Amarnathji Yatra.
The experts said that it is imperative to have a Disaster Risk Management Plan in place that establishes the steps required to be taken before, during and after an event, in which all tourism stakeholders have to be taken on board.
Ahsan ul Haq said that theTourism Department is working in coordination with all the stakeholders and that the private tourist operators are also geared-up, to deal with any situation.
Mahmood Shah said there risks are involved in adventure tourism activities like rafting mountaineering, skiing etc. and stressed on establishing a collaborative approach for effective Risk Management to save precious lives.
Manzoor Wangnoo stressed on the need to ensure eco-tourism and protection of wetlands, water-bodies and natural resources and to enhance afforestation.

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