Packaging Jammu tourism huge challenge, will take it up in mission mode: Mufti

‘Roadmap already set in motion’

‘Need to achieve full occupancy at leisure spots’

 JAMMU – Comparing the tourism potential of Jammu with that of Kashmir, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today described packaging tourist destinations in the region as a huge challenge. He said the Tourism Department will work in ‘mission mode’ to attract leisure tourists this season.

Mufti said this while chairing a high-level meeting called to review the performance of Tourism Development Authorities (TDAs) of Jammu Division. CEOs of Poonch, Rajouri, Patnitop, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Surinsar-Mansar and Lakhanpur-Sarthal Development Authorities briefed the Chief Minister about the present status of their Authorities. 

Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, Minister for H&ME, Ch. Lal Singh, Minister for CA&PD, Ch. Zulfkar, Minister of State for Transport, Abdul Gani Kohli and Minister of State, Public Works and R&B Sunil Kumar participated in the meeting, which lasted over four hours.

The Chief Minister said he will personally monitor the occupancy levels of all TDAs this season. “We cannot afford to keep infrastructure at these places idle. Our Tourism Authorities have to be professionally managed so that these become self-sustained,” Mufti Sayeed said and added that improving occupancy levels will be the top priority of the Government.

Asking for a collaborated effort by all stakeholders for showcasing various recreational places in Jammu as one Summer Package, Mufti said the roadmap for selling Jammu as an independent leisure destination has already been set into motion.

Referring to several recreational and historical places in Jammu region which have not been showcased so far, Mufti Sayeed said places like Ranjit Sagar Dam in Lakhanpur-Sarthal, Sanasar and Baghliar Dam in Patnitop, Surinsar and Mansar Lakes in Udhampur and Samba, Jai in Bhaderwah, Sinthan Top, Warwan in Kishtwar, Shahdara Sharief in Rajouri, Budha Amarnath and Seven Lakes in Poonch have to be sold in a big way this season to promote Jammu as a destination with recreational abundance.  

Mufti said in the long-term, the Government will need to draw a map to develop high-end tourism infrastructure also so that we cater to a totally new class of overseas and domestic visitors.

In the marathon meeting, the Chief Minister took a detailed feedback from all the Ministers, MLAs and MLCs to highlight Jammu as one package. “If tourism has to flourish, we have to have right linkages at the right places,” he reiterated.

Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy Chief Minister appreciated the Chief Minister for his plans to promote Jammu as an independent tourist destination. He laid stress on bringing on the main stage Jammu’s Dogra Heritage which has also been mentioned in the Common Minimum Programme of the Coalition Government. “Besides heritage tourism, Jammu’s border tourism potential also needs to be explored in a big way,” he stated.

Commissioner/Secretary Tourism, Shailendra Kumar, Director Tourism, Jammu, RK Verma, MD JKTDC and Director Tourism, Kashmir, Farooq A. Shah and Deputy Commissioners of Samba, Udhampur, Kathua and Rajouri districts also attended the meeting.      

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