Terming Jammu & Kashmir as the golfing paradise, Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Sarmad Hafeez said given the quality of its courses the UT is emerging as the Golfing capital of the country.

Participating in the meeting of India Golf Tourism Association (IGTA) , the Tourism Secretary said the Golfing circuit of Jammu & Kashmir particularly the iconic Royal Springs Golf Course and Pahalgam Golf Course provides a rich and varied world class experience to visiting golfers which is unparalleled in rest of the country. He said the Gulmarg Golf Course is being re done while as the Kashmir Golf Course which was shut for seven years after the devastating floods of 2014 has been re-laid, its fairways and greens redone and it was thrown open last month while as the Jammu-Tawi Golf Course has been developed of international quality.

The Tourism Secretary informed the meeting that this year saw the arrival of golf tourists about 15 times more than last year’s arrivals. He said during the current year more than seven golf tournaments of national and international standard are lined up for next two months which includes the prestigious PGTI-Pro tournament which is expected to witness participation of around 126 top golfers of the country and abroad. He said Golf packages are being launched for attracting more golfers.

Sarmad Hafeez said niche tourism in Jammu & Kashmir is picking up with heritage, adventure, golf etc being on the enquiry list of prospective tourists. This year, he informed, a record number of trekkers and adventure lovers have visited Jammu & Kashmir.

On the initiatives taken by the Department, the Tourism Secretary informed the meeting that recently a Film Policy was launched by the UT administration for reviving J&K’s old Bollywood connections. Similarly a vigorous advertisement campaign is being launched by the Department all across major cities of the country. Also, he said, a calendar of festivals for the coming three months has been drawn up including the iconic Autumn and Winter festivals.

Sarmad Hafeez said soon after the outbreak of Covid-19, the UT administration prioritised the vaccination of tourism stakeholders including taxi operators, hoteliers, shikarawallas, tourist guides, ponywallas etc. and so far 95 per cent of all tourism stakeholders stand vaccinated even as 100 per cent caddies and other staff of all the Golf Course have been inoculated. He said all major cities in the country have direct air connectivity with Srinagar and Jammu and yesterday more than 60 flights landed at Srinagar airport.

The meeting was attended by delegates from Thailand, London and within country from Arunachal Pradesh, Dehradun, Hyderabad etc.

The representatives from PHD Chamber of Commerce informed the meeting that they have planned many Golf tournaments in the coming months.

The participants of the meeting complimented the Tourism Secretary, and the Department for the efforts in promoting niche tourism across the country.

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