Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha today attended the closing ceremony of Pahalgam Winter Carnival through virtual mode.In his address, the Lt Governor congratulated the Tourism department and all the stakeholders for successful conduct of the two-day long carnival and providing opportunities to the local artists to display their talent in various fields.The Lt Governor observed that the tourism sector is getting back on track with increasing tourist influx in the UT. Footfall of tourists has increased manifold in the last three months. Local community and stakeholders must come together to ensure development of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.“I assure the tourists across the globe a safe, pleasant and memorable visit to J&K, the paradise on earth. Come and witness the scenic beauty, rich culture and heritage of J&K”, said the Lt Governor. Laying emphasis on taking innovative measures for the promotion of the tourism sector and tapping its immense potential, the Lt Governor directed the Tourism Department for putting concerted efforts on promoting sustainable destinations and developing unexplored places of tourism potential while branding J&K in the international tourism circuit. “We should never forget that every tourist destination has its own strengths and all we need to do is to focus on involving local communities, creating sustainable tourism and addressing the needs of tourists”, said the Lt Governor.Underlining the significance of optimum utilization of new technologies and various modern tools of communication, the Lt Governor called for regular updates on Social Media and websites of departments/agencies, besides promoting places of tourism, potential through small promotional videos.Even during the COVID pandemic, J&K has witnessed a huge rise in tourists’ footfall with the Administration following all the COVID related SoPs and testing at all tourist arrival places, he added.
While speaking on various potential areas of the tourism sector, the Lt Governor observed that the UT administration is putting up committed efforts to make J&K the most favourite destination of filmmakers which will also go a long way in giving a fillip to the socio-economic development of the region.The Lt Governor directed the Tourism department to work on broader frame-work and explore possibilities to conduct a program on lines of the Dekho Apna Desh program, besides imparting training to local tourist guides.He further stressed on making strategic planning which is imperative for bringing competitiveness in regional development and destination.Like Gulmarg, Pahalgam also has huge potential for adventure tourism. Other places of tourism potential in the UT need to be promoted through various platforms, said the Lt Governor.Tourism department, local community, artists, and other stakeholders are together providing an attractive environment for the tourists coming to J&K. The way we have made a successful comeback in the tourism sector, more favourable results can be witnessed in coming days, the Lt Governor concluded.Sh. Baseer Khan, Advisor to the Lt Governor, while speaking on the occasion, termed the Tourists as the perfect ambassadors of J&K.He informed that, on the backdrop of the directions passed by the Lt Governor, a series of meetings have been convened to ensure that tourism related activities to promote local tourism are being conducted successfully across the J&K. He further informed that on 25th February Sonamarg is going to open for tourists.Speaking on the occasion, Sh. Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary to the Government, Tourism Department spoke about various initiatives taken for the promotion of the tourism sector. He informed that the Tourism Department is going to hold 21 road shows in as many cities and is attending travel marts across the country.Director Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. G. N. Itoo, in his welcome address, gave a detailed briefing about the Pahalgam Winter Carnival.Meanwhile, cash prizes of Rs 50,000 each were awarded to the winners of different categories.Sh. Anshul Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag; Sh. Asif Burza, Prominent Hotelier and President of Pahalgam Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association; artists of various art forms, officers of civil administration, and tourists in large numbers attended the closing ceremony of the Pahalgam Winter Carnival.