After its successful outreach programmes across potential tourism markets of the Country, the J&K Tourism Department has been holding interactive sessions and meetings with local tour travel operators here for the last two days.

A team of officers from J&K Tourism Department comprising CEO, Rajouri Development Authority, Vivek Puri and Deputy Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. Ahsanul Haq Chishti has been holding deliberations with tour operators, prospective clients, film producers etc. here.

The team of officers reached here on Thursday and is expected to carry the discussions for another two days. Yesterday the team held interactive sessions with prospective clients at various places across the city. They briefed them about the emerging tourism scenario in Jammu & Kashmir particularly autumn and winter seasons.

This is the major outreach by the J & K Tourism Department in recent months in South India after Chennai. The Tourism Department has undertaken a massive interactive programme with tour operators and media across major cities of the country and so far cities like Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Ahmedabad have been covered under the programme. These are the areas from where J&K receives a major chunk of tourists.

During the meetings, the officers apprised the representatives of tour travel industry about the preparedness of the Jammu & Kashmir administration and tourism stakeholders in terms of COVID-19 protocol and precautions. They said soon after the outbreak of Covid-19, the UT administration got the tourism stakeholders including taxi operators, hoteliers, shikarawallas, tourist guides, ponywallas etc. declared as frontline workers and so far 95 per cent of all tourism stakeholders stand vaccinated.

On the diversified tourism products available in J&K, the officers informed that the Golfing circuit of Jammu & Kashmir comprising the iconic Royal Springs Golf Course, Pahalgam Golf Course, historic courses like the Gulmarg Golf Course and Kashmir Golf Course besides Jammu-Tawi Golf Course provides a rich and varied world class experience to visiting golfers which is unparalleled in rest of the country. Currently all major cities in the country have direct air connectivity with Srinagar and Jammu airports.

Similarly this year, the officers informed that, adventure activities like trekking and rafting have picked pace among the adventure loving tourists and the Government has thrown open many more treks for exploration from this year. Niche tourism in Jammu & Kashmir is picking up with religious, heritage, adventure, golf etc. being on the enquiry list of prospective tourists. Many more new destinations are being explored and put on the tourism map of the UT. These include Gurez, Doodhpathri, Yousmarg, Nilnag, Tosa Maidan, Bungus valley, Daksum, Ahrabal in Kashmir and Ranjit Sagar Dam, Seven lakes across Rajouri-Poonch, Mansar, Sanasar etc. in Jammu region.

The meetings were told that last winter and this summer an encouraging number of production houses from Southern states had their shoots at various locations across J&K, particularly Kashmir. A vigorous advertisement campaign is being launched by the Department all across major cities of the country besides a calendar of festivals for the coming three months has been drawn up including the iconic autumn and winter festivals.

The team of officers, during their stay here, is expected to meet office bearers of Hyderabad Golf Association, officers from State Government and other tourism trade bodies.

During a media interaction the officers briefed members of the media about the initiatives of the Tourism Department to further boost up the tourism sector in J&K.

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