The Jammu and Kashmir administration has launched an ambitious plan to develop 300 new tourist destinations. These destinations will encompass heritage sites, offbeat locales, adventure spots, and spiritual retreats, offering a diverse array of experiences to both domestic and international travelers. The Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha announced the plan during the inauguration of the ‘Bangus Adventure Festival’ in the border district of Kupwara while rightly emphasizing that many of Jammu and Kashmir’s offbeat destinations are perfect havens for leisure adventurers and seekers of enchanting experiences
The festival follows the successful hosting of the G20 tourism working group meeting in Srinagar earlier this year, which, according to the government, has led to a significant increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir, among them around 15000 foreign tourists. The government figures put the number of tourists who visited the union territory this year at 1.58 crore including 3.65 lakh Amarnath yatris.
Going forward, there are expectations that more tourists will come. And to this end, the administration is developing more tourist destinations and upgrading the infrastructure. The administration is also contemplating hosting a national-level tourism summit in the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu. The summit is anticipated to take place either by the end of this year or in early 2024, serving as a platform to showcase the region’s potential as a tourist hotspot.
There is also good news for commuters along the crucial Srinagar-Jammu highway. The police have decided to permit civilian traffic during VVIP movements, a move that will undoubtedly ease the daily travails of the region’s residents and visitors. This decision comes after years of restrictions imposed in the aftermath of the devastating Pulwama militant suicide attack on a convoy in February 2019, which claimed the lives of 40 paramilitary personnel. The move to phase out restrictions on public transport during convoy movements reflects the improving security situation in the region.
The reduction in militancy-related violence and improvements in the overall law and order situation have helped this positive outlook. While 35 militants were killed in various operations by the security forces from January 1 to July 25 this year, the number was over 120 in the same period last year. In 2022, 186 militants, including 56 foreigners, were killed by the security forces, leading to a drop in violence. This, in turn, has helped bring more tourists to the region. As situation continues to steadily improve, tourism is expected to further flourish and benefit the UT’s economy.
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