1.05 cr tourists visited J&K in first 6 months this year: GoI 

GK Reddy says private investment of Rs 248.86 cr Made in tourism sector in last 3 years

Srinagar: The Central government on Monday said that 1.05 crores tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir during the first six months of the calendar year.

“Tourism Sector in J&K is one of the core sectors of economy. As a result of the initiatives taken by the J&K Government in private sector as well as Government sector there has been a significant hike in the tourist foot fall despite of the Covid challenges,” Minister of Tourism, G. Kishan reddy said in a written reply to a question by parliamentarian Mala Roy who had sought the details of investment in Tourism sector in Jammu & Kashmir during the last three years, details of the investors and the impact of investment on socio-economic life in J&K.

”In the year 2020 the tourist foot fall was 41267 which has increased to 1.05 crores during the first six months (January-June) of the calendar year 2022,” Reddy said in the reply.

“J&K has seen tourist flow in all the seasons during the period and that too high end tourist who have a good experience of quality services,” he said, adding, “This high influx of tourist has been directly and indirectly benefited the local populace including the people living in far flung areas of the J&K.”

The influx of tourists, he said, has resulted in huge investment in the Tourism sector be it the hotels, guest houses, house boats, home stays or other Tourism services. “Other sectors indirectly connected with Tourism like Handicraft, Handloom, Transport, Food and Beverages business etc. have also witnessed an upsurge with investment made in these sectors as well.”

He said Industrial Policy 2021 of J&K Government recognizes Tourism sector as an industry so as to make the investment in Tourism sector eligible for incentives under the policy. Besides, he said, the J&K Government has also notified Tourism Policy 2020 which provides for various incentives in Tourism sector.

“J&K Tourism Department has also notified Home Stay Policy/Guidelines 2022 with the aim to achieve de-centralization of benefits of tourism to large number of people to achieve a multiplier effect on the economy and offer several benefits like, employment generation, increased sale in traditional craft/skill, etc. to ensure that the economic benefits reach local people by making more accommodation rooms available and reducing the price-point for tourists,” he said, adding, “Various infrastructure developmental projects under UT sector Capex Budget and Centrally sponsored scheme PMDP/PRASAD with a total allocation of Rs.683.45 crores have been taken up during the last 03 years which has facilitated up-gradation of various pilgrimage sites and works at tourist destinations across the J&K in order to boost the tourism related activities and economy in the J&K.”

Since tourism sector is pre-dominantly a private driven initiative, he said, many stakeholders have come forward to make investments by way of making new hotel, paying guest houses, lodges, travel agencies, adventure activities, tenting and so on. “As per the information provided by the Department of Industries and Commerce, J&K, Private Investment to the tune of Rs.248.86 crores has been made in the Tourism sector during the given period.”

As per the provisions of J&K Tourist Trade Act 1978, he said, the prescribed authority in the Tourism Department registers various hotels, guesthouses and other service providers.

“An analysis of the registration data provides a preliminary overview of the investment made in different services of Tourism sector. More than 1500 rooms have been registered in the hospitality sector since 2019 in addition to registration of other service providers and a large number are in process of registration,” he said.

Besides, he said, number of tourist accommodations which were not in use in view of the Covid restrictions and various other reasons prior to in J&K have been renovated/re-modeled/upgraded by making substantial investment in view of the unprecedented highest ever tourist footfall in the J&K in the last couple of years. “Further to maintain the traditional Houseboats and Shikaras, J&K Govt. has decided to provide concessional timber to the owners of these vessels which has further encouraged these stakeholders to make their own investment to upgrade their vessels to the highest standard.”

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