SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha chaired a high-level meeting to review the new initiatives of the Tourism Department, here at Raj Bhawan.
The Lt Governor sought a detailed report on homestays, setting up of tented accommodation at major tourist attractions, adventure activities, new trekking routes identified, Border Tourism and Capacity Building Programme at various levels.
While reviewing the measures being taken to promote homestays in the UT, the chair was informed that around 800 homestays are registered with the Tourism Department.
The Lt Governor directed Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez to submit a report on the number of tourists staying at these homestays, and set the target of enhancing the capacities of homestays to 25,000 beds by 31st December.
The tourism department was instructed to identify major tourist attractions where tented accommodation can be developed through a public-private partnership.
Since homestays and tented accommodations are becoming popular among domestic and foreign tourists as well as backpackers, the J&K UT government is making efforts to promote tent stays at scenic locations that will deliver rapid growth to the tourism industry, added the Lt Governor.
It was informed that around 30 locations were already identified and the department was directed to make the tented colonies functional at these locations in the next three months.
Emphasizing the need for making the tourist places more accessible, besides adding major attractions for the tourists, the Lt Governor directed the tourism department to identify such tourist destinations where ropeways can also be developed.
Sarmad Hafeez, secretary to the Government, Tourism Department gave a detailed presentation on the Activity Plan for 75 Offbeat Destinations identified by the Tourism Department, which are being developed with proper infrastructure and requisite facilities for the tourists.
The Lt Governor directed the officials to ensure public conveniences, utilities, parking facilities, sanitation facilities, cleanliness, signage and toilet units, besides activities for the tourists at all tourist places.
The department was further advised to explore the possibility of setting up pre-paid taxi counters at various tourist locations to address the issue of over-charging.
Reviewing the ongoing works under the Capex budget of the Tourism directorate, the Lt Governor asked the department to adopt a result-oriented and outcome-based approach at the planning stage for the effective execution of the projects.
On Swadesh Darshan 2.0, it was informed that five tourist destinations, three in Jammu and two in Kashmir Division – Wular Lake and adjoining areas, Tosamaidan-Doodhpathri, Surinsar-Mansar, Basohli-Sarthal and Bhaderwah have been sent to the Government of India.
The chair was also briefed about the Physical and financial status of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme (PMDP Projects).
Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Vivek Bhardwaj, Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Department; Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; Syed Hamid, MD JKTDC; Dr GN Itoo, Director Tourism Kashmir and other senior officials attended the meeting.