Sparking Tourism

July 11, 2017 0 Comments EDITORIAL 173 Views
Sparking Tourism

Jammu and Kashmir government is struggling every single day to being back the lost glory of the tourism sector of the State. Among the priorities set by the incumbent government before taking from where the previous had left, promotion of J&K tourism stood out conspicuously. There have been at least two facets projected with the government’s over-eagerness to promote and enhance tourism in the state. The government has been trying to rebuild the confidence of tourism players by sending the message of peace and reiterate the assurance on safety, which are essential for attracting tourists to the state, particularly to Kashmir. Lot of money is being spent and pumped into the promotion of the tourism sector in the State. The government has also been investing in the state to create necessary tourism infrastructure by building facilities and identifying new places and amusements in all three divisions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Such a priority has also become apparent due to the state chief ministers batting for tourism and its development. Despite the persistent efforts from the government and those of the previous one, tourism in Kashmir has reached a standstill. Sometime back statement of Prime Ministe, Narradera Modi on choosing Tourism over “Terrorism”, was a befitting reply had come in which in which eight unarmed civilian in the Kashmir Valley were killed. The PM was addressing gathering during the Chennai-Nashri tunnel in Udhampur in Jammu region. There is much more for the New Delhi to look into the Kashmir situation beyond tourism prism. It’s good if State witnesses development on every sector, but not at the cost of human lives. The State Cabinet in this year only has accorded sanction to the creation of Tourism Development Authority, Tosa Maidan. Being one of the largest meadows in Kashmir valley surrounded by dense forests, Tosa Maidan has the potential of being developed into a popular tourism destination. Besides the normal sightseeing, Tosa Maidan has a good potential of adventure including winter sports, hiking, mountaineering, horse riding, para gliding, rock climbing, trekking etc. The Cabinet also accorded sanction to the creation of Tourism Development Authority, Shopain-Dobjun-Peer-ki-Gali & Tourism Development Authority Bani-Basohli alongwith creation of 21 posts of various categories for each Tourism Authority. Government needs to develop locations having tourist potential to increase tourist footfall which can generate employment and boost the socio- economic conditions of the locals. At the same time, it needs to consider the fate of tourist resorts like Pahalgam and Sonamarg which have witnessed serious threat to their ecology. We have not spared even the meadows and foothills of these resorts from vandalization. Authorities have failed to implement a comprehensive policy to safeguard the natural beauty and ecological balance of these places. Development and improvement in infrastructure should be a priority of the government but it should not be at the cost of destroying or disturbing the ecological balance. There is a need for employing sustainable and eco-tourism initiatives in the state. There is a need to sensitize the policy makers and tourism stakeholders towards the importance of sustainability tourism for destination development and identify areas of eco tourism initiative that can be undertaken across the various regions of Jammu and Kashmir. Travel is evolving rapidly all over the world and there is a visible shift from mass tourism to niche tourism. The state’s tourism industry needs to rise to this level and evolve into a ‘niche destination’.

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