Jammu and Kashmir strengthens tourism with constant focus on MICE

Tourism in the Tulip destination of India is passing through a rejig. Jammu and Kashmir State tourism has unraveled a host of new destinations to bring a spike in tourist arrivals.

Swaati Chaudhury

Renowned as the Crown of Incredible India, Jammu, and Kashmir is teeming with heritage, history, adventure, and pilgrim centers. To ride on the surge in tourist arrivals, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism has diversified its tourism portfolio into leisure, adventure, heritage, MICE, golf, pilgrim, wedding, and homestay.

According to Dr. Ahsan Ul Haq Chishti, Deputy Director, of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism, “We have identified around 300 novel tourist destinations in the state that include 75 trekking trails. Leisure tourism has been our forte. Camping is going on in a big way. We are offering a push to golf tourism and there are five major golf courses in the state including two golf courses in Srinagar- Kashmir Golf Course and Royal Springs Golf Course. The other prominent golf courses are Gulmarg Golf Course, Lidder Valley Course at Pahalgam, and Jammu Golf Course.”

MICE tourism has come up in a big way. Chishti commented, “MICE has been our focused attention and Srinagar has a huge convention center – Sher-e-Kashmir International Conventional Centre. New convention centers are being set up in destinations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Gurez and the corporate groups are into hosting regular conferences.”

The land enjoys the distinction of having one of the oldest civilizations in India in terms of heritage and culture. Chishti commented, “We have selected around 75 heritage points in the state including the lesser-known Bhimgarh fort in Jammu and the archaeological monument of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex in Jammu that constitutes the regal palace of the Dogra dynasty. Besides, the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine and Amarnath Yatra, there are about 75 pilgrim destinations across the state.  No trip to Vaishno Devi shrine is complete without a visit to Chichi Mata shrine at Samba.”

State tourism has taken the initiative to offer an impetus to homestay options for travellers across 75 destinations. Chishti stated, “We have made an effort to promote sustainable tourism by setting up eco-tourist villages. Apart from these, we are offering a thrust to horticulture tourism. We have renewed our ties not only with the Bollywood film fraternity but also with the South Indian film industry for film shootings over the past couple of years.”

Tourism forms the lifeline of the state’s economy. It employs nearly 2 million population and constitutes around 10 percent of GDP. “There were around 1.88 crore domestic tourist arrivals last year and the state has received the highest global tourist footfall till now in the current year,” added Chishti.

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