Be innovative in promoting destinations: Govt to Tourism unit heads

Srinagar: Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Sarmad Hafeez Friday impressed upon all the heads of tourism units and bodies in Jammu & Kashmir to come up with innovative ideas to promote and preserve their destinations in particular and the UT in general.

Chairing a high-level review meeting here today, the Tourism Secretary asked the CEOs and Resort Officers to be innovative leaders to promote their destinations in the tourism market while preserving the ecology, environment and heritage of their destinations and properties. In this regard, he emphasized on optimum use of manpower and their capacity building so that employees and workers are utlilised in a professional manner as per the need and the demand of the tourism market.

Sarmad Hafeez also directed the officers to update all the information related to tourist destinations on their websites for being the interface between the visitors and the Tourism department where people get information about the places, destinations and other spots related to tourism. He said owing to its technical and professional nature, the tourism sector was selected as a priority sector by the government for inoculation so that as the COVID situation improves tourists are welcomed back without any hesitation. He directed 100% inoculation of the staff by each unit at the earliest.

The Tourism Secretary impressed upon the officers for the timely disposal of cases pertaining to the promotions and career advancement of their employees besides moving towards an online system of file movement. He also asked the corporations to hold regular board meetings as prescribed in the board rules.

MD JKCCC, Majid Khalil Drabu; Director Tourism Kashmir, Dr. G N Itoo; Director Tourism Jammu, Vivekanand Rai; MD JKTDC, Nisar Ahmad Wani; Director SKICC, Javed Humanyun Bakshi; Chief Executive Officers of all the Tourism development Authorities and senior officers of Tourism Department were present in the meeting.

Earlier, in a separate meeting with several travel operators, the Secretary Tourism impressed upon them to further diversify their product portfolios by including some innovative packages, routes and destinations.  He specifically asked them to revive the concept of locally conducted tours of destinations during which the tourists would get familiarized with local culture, cuisine and people while enjoying the beauty of the place. He also asked them to explore the idea of reviving helicopter safari service to meet the demands of niche tourist segments and in the process explore new and virgin places like Gurez, Bangus valley, Gangabal, Seven lakes in Poonch and Nun Kun peaks etc.

Sarmad Hafeez expressed satisfaction that 80 per cent of the stakeholders were vaccinated during the latest vaccination drive. He, however, urged the stakeholders to ensure that the remaining 20 percent of the stakeholders are also inoculated so that as the COVID situation improves, tourist arrivals come back to their previous levels and tourists feel the confidence of visiting Jammu & Kashmir.

The Tourism Secretary informed the tourism stakeholders that the Department has embarked on an ambitious plan of capacity building of stakeholders in the post COVID scenario during which around four thousand tourism workers would be imparted training.

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