DC B'pora calls for joint efforts to promote Gurez Valley as Tourist Destination

Season long activities to begin from May, 10.

Season long activities to begin from May, 10.

BANDIPORA, APRIL 22 (KNS): The Deputy Commissioner (DC) Bandipora, Dr Owais Ahmad along with Director Tourism G. N. Ittoo today took review of promotion of tourism in Gurez Valley and called for joint efforts of different civil departments, Army and Police to promote the Gurez Valley near Line of Control as a tourist Destination.

The meeting was attended by Managing Director JKTDC, ADDC Bandipora, Joint Director Planning, Assistant Director Tourism, SDM Gurez, DFO Bandipora and several representatives of travel associations and agencies including Farooq Ah Kathoo, President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), Nasir Shah, Chairman Indian Association of Tour Operators (JK Chapter), Mohammad Akram Siah, President Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK),  Shamim Shah, Former Chairman Travel Agents Association of India (JK Chapter), Raouf Tramboo, President Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK) , Peerzada Fayaz Ahmad, State Coordinator Eco-Tourism Society of India, Sameer Ah Baktoo, Eco Tourism Camping & Resort Owners Federation, Syed Zeeshan and Zoe Priyanka from Highland Excursions.

The meeting discussed the tourism potential of Gurez Valley and the measures for promotion of Gurez Valley as a tourist destination besides discussing the  development of tourism infrastructure and other measures  to ensure smooth travel of tourists to the Gurez Valley.

The participants highlighted various problems and discussed the solutions to resolve the issues.

Dr Owais while  reviewing the tourism infrastructure available in Gurez Valley  said Gurez has tremendous tourism potential and the administration is in process to upgrade infrastructure facilities to attract more tourists to the picturesque valley. He said though the valley remains cut off from the rest of the world during winters but it has a huge potential for winter tourism having world class slopes besides potential for rafting.

He said this year they are expecting better tourist rush and efforts are on to ensure their smooth stay. He said TRC Gurez is functional and asked the concerned to follow joint mechanism of booking by TRC and District Administration.

In the meeting, G N Ittoo highlighted various measures taken by tourism department in promoting tourism in Gurez Valley and also assured of full support and cooperation with all stake holders in capacity building and providing necessary logistics for Gurez.

It was also discussed that the local youth will be trained in different trades related to tourism so that they also earn their living. Dr Owais said refresher course for concerned will be held for better hospitality facilities. He asked the SDM to prepare  list of local employees to be deputed for this season.

The officers suggested allowing unemployed youth to erect tents on private land for tourists besides stating that local  house owners will also  provide home stay  facility for  tourists. He said proper care will be taken for sanitation cleanliness and permission for private  land owners for erecting tent.

He directed the concerned officers to check status of already issued home stay permissions and ensure  proper security guidelines while moving towards restricted areas in Gurez Valley. He urged SDM Gurez and AD Tourism to conduct  Safety Audit and review arrangements jointly.

Dr Owais said  this year they have proposed season-long activities and major events will be held in the initial phase.He asked the concerned to submit proposals well in advance for approval on time.

He said administration is working to carry various activities like bike riding, para-gliding water sports besides involving locals.

Representatives of TAAK raised various issues related to waste managements, cleanliness and road connectivity besides other measures to be taken for smooth stay and movement of tourists.

Dr Owais further stated that the Gurez Valley, in particular, has everything to offer for tourists of all types be it site seeing or adventure tourism. He said the Lieutenant Governor’s administration is keen to bring the Valley on the international tourist map.   He said measures are being taken to improve connectivity to the picturesque valley particularly during winter months to boost the tourist arrival.

The DC called for joint efforts of different departments including Civil administration to promote the beautiful Gurez valley. 

Department of Tourism informed that they are promoting the Gurez Valley through Travel Trade Fairs, Road shows and has published extensive publicity material to showcase its culture, heritage, art and craft in addition to its scintillating beauty while the efforts of Army to promote tourism of Gurez were also appreciated.(KNS)

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