SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir is now an all season destination and the Tourism Department has, besides Gulmarg kept Pahalgam and Sonmarg destinations open for winters even as it has enhanced the choices for tourists in terms of destinations and products resulting in a record tourist footfall this year.
This was stated by Secretary, Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez here while interacting with a group of representatives of travel companies from Maharashtra and adjoining states who called on him yesterday. The group is on a familiarisation visit to UT these days.
The Tourism Secretary informed the delegation that since the last two years the Department has been working on new tourism products and services like Golfing, trekking, adventure, bird watching etc to attract the attention of corporate clientele. Even the tradition of Polo has been revived by the Department recently, he informed the delegation. This, he said, has increased the tourist footfall this year manifold.
He informed the delegation that after a successful PGTI Golf tournament at Srinagar last year another PGTI tournament is being organised at Jammu.
Sarmad Hafeez told the delegation that besides leisure and adventure tourism, the Department is actively concentrating on MICE and corporate tourism. He said many MICE groups have visited J&K in the last month and many more corporate groups are planned for the coming months. He sought their suggestions in this regard. He assured all support and handholding from the department and the local tourism stakeholders to them.
The Tourism Secretary informed the delegation that the Department is working in a holistic manner to attract tourists in all segments through a whole range of promotions, road shows, events besides introduction of new adventure activities and destinations to sustain the interest of visitors.
Sarmad Hafeez told the delegation about the inclusion of 75 offbeat destinations into the tourist map of and throwing open of new trekking routes across the UT.
The delegation comprising representatives from the famed Kesari group and other companies brought many of their issues into the notice of the Tourism Secretary and other officers of the Tourism Department and sought their redressal. They evinced keen interest in the measures taken by the Department and the tourism product range put out for the niche clientele.
Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. G N Itoo; CEO, J&K Cable Car Corporation, Ghulam Jeelani Zargar besides senior officers of Tourism Department were present on the occasion.