SRINAGAR: As various sectors of the economy are being unlocked for resuming normal activity in Jammu and Kashmir, a team of officers of the Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir is in Kolkata these days to apprise the Tour and Travel fraternity of Kolkata about the opening up Tourism sector in J&K and the facilities in place for incoming tourists.
The team of officers comprising Deputy Directors, Ideel Saleem and Ahsanul Haq Chishti held a series of meetings with various tourism stakeholders of West Bengal and apprised them about the easing of restrictions and the SOPs in place.
As J&K attracts large chunk of domestic tourists from West Bengal and in view of the upcoming Durga Puja Holidays, Travel, Trade and Tour operators of West Bengal were apprised about the easing of restrictions related to COVID19 in J&K including lifting of curbs on entry of people into J&K by road, rail or air, opening up all tourism destinations, parks, hotels and restaurants, opening up of Gulmarg Gondola, opening up of cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes, swimming pools, lifting of ceiling in open spaces and various other measures and guidelines to facilitate tourists and general public while ensuring health safety.
The Travel, Trade and Tour operators of Bengal were informed that J&K Tourism is promoting responsible tourism and outdoor adventure activities, as a means to gradually move towards full revival of tourism. The delegations were informed that Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir recently celebrated the World Tourism Day-2020 across all destinations by holding a Shikara Race in the World Famous Dal Lake, Cycle Bike rally from Srinagar to the beautiful Doodhpathri, and also undertook sanitation drives and organised COVID related awareness programme. Recently, a Nature Walk and Cycling and Trekking event was also organised in the famed Dachigam National Park on the eve of National Wildlife Week.
A detailed presentation on the various tourism destinations including lesser known destinations and an array of adventure activities being promoted in Kashmir was also made.
Regarding upcoming tourism promotion events, the Travel, Trade and Tour Operators were informed that the Kashmir Tourism has drawn up a calendar of activities for celebrating autumn season and next week a golfing event is slated at Pahalgam besides a Saffron festival has been planned at Pampore by the end of this month. Events and activities have also been slated for the Winter especially at Pahalgam and the Ski destination of Gulmarg.
Further, the Tour operators were informed that their counterparts in J&K are geared up for receiving tourists and all hotels and restaurants are fully equipped to welcome the guests while ensuring their health safety protocols.
The Tour operators exhibited keen interest in the efforts of J&K Government for the revival of tourism. They recalled their close association with J&K Tourism, the mutual trust and support between the people of J&K and West Bengal and assured to further strengthen it in future. They thanked J&K Tourism Department for choosing West Bengal to start the revival campaign.
During the interactions, it was revealed that a large number of queries have been received from prospective tourists from West Bengal for visiting J&K in December and January months.
The Tourism stakeholder bodies which participated the interactions included Travel Agents Association of India ( TAAI), Travel Agents Association of Bengal ( TAAB) SKAL- Kolkata, Travel Agents Federation of India ( TAFI), Association of Tourism Service Providers of Bengal (ATSPB), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India- West Bengal and other Tourism stakeholders.
It may be mentioned here that J&K receives among the largest chunk of tourists from States like West Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The autumn season in J&K also coincides with with Durga Puja holidays in West Bengal.