New circuits, investment by sister states will boost J&K Tourism: Deepika Kumari

Deepika Kumari Sharma, Director, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism, discussed the Challenges and Way Forward, of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism at the Tourism Minister’s Conference held today at The Leela Raviz Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram.

She pointed out that the ethnic cleansing in Kashmir, targeted abduction of foreigners, disruption of life, destruction of properties and facilities and administrative machinery supporting the sector coming to a halt are the circumstantial issues affecting J & K Tourism. Deepika Kumari also said that ignorance of audience unaddressed, corruption, general neglect and apathy are the systemic issues affecting J & K tourism.

“Lack of quality infrastructure, good hotels, road network and other facilities adversely affect tourism in the state. Pilgrim tourism tag, which is restrictive, is also affecting the tourism in the state,” said the tourism director. She also pointed out that the domestic negative image spread through media and security concerns are the major challenges they face in Jammu and Kashmir. “High airfare during tourist season, and the absence of nigh flights also adversely affect the tourism in the state,” said Deepika Kumari.

Abrogation of Article 370 and investment opportunities will help boost the tourism potential of the state, she said. With the restrictions removed, the tourism potential of the state will be fully realised with investment in tourist infrastructure and hotels that will create more jobs. It is also needed to focus on safer destinations in Jammu region while the normalcy ambles back in Kashmir, she said. Deepika Kumari also suggested the need to establish two separate directorates promoting two regions simultaneously – in sync and yet independently.  Development of new circuits, investment by sister states, and increased regional air connectivity  will help attract more tourists to the state, she said. The tourism director has also suggested that increased visibility – advertisements, seminars, expos and fairs will also help the board in wooing more tourists. The state tourism department is also planning to introduce fam tours for tour operators, journalists and influencers.