PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) organized its 9th webinar under Border Tourism Webinar Series on 6 October 2021 focusing on Jammu district for the promotion of Border Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.
Delivering the Keynote Address, Mr. Sarmad Hafeez (IAS), Secretary – Tourism, UT of Jammu and Kashmir, informed that the tourism department is developing tourist facilities and roadside amenities around Suchetgarh border which is at a distance of 28 kms from Jammu. The department is also working with Border Security Force (BSF) and trying to replicate similar destination on the lines of Wagah Border.
He further said that the tourism department has identified few other locations for promotion of Border Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and also trying to get funds sanctioned under Border Areas Development Programme (BADP).
There is a huge potential for tourism development and growth in Jammu & Kashmir, especially in the unexplored valleys of Jammu. The focus must be on providing experiential tourism as in today’s time, destination stays aren’t enough for the tourists.
Sharing the key motives behind the initiatives taken by the tourism department, Mr. Hafeez said that it is crucial to work with the trade bodies and people to ultimately uplift the economic conditions of the locals.
Mr. Nasir Shah, Chairman – Jammu & Kashmir Chapter, Indian Association of Tour Operators, said that focus must be on offbeat tourist destinations and keep up with recent tourist trends. Suchetgarh Border has a huge scope for the development of tourist infrastructures like good roads and mobile network towers for better connectivity; followed by extensive publicity. He also mentioned that establishing people to people contact (intra-border) can be extremely beneficial for tourism.
Mr. Sanjay Wadhwa, General Manager, Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Katra, mentioned that in today’s age it is crucial to have an extensive focus on social media and promotion via online mediums like blogging. This would help in reaching a huge number of audiences and engaging the youth as well. He further suggested that specific roadshows can be organized as an initiative to promote religious tourism.
In his presidential address, Mr. Pradeep Multani, President, PHDCCI, mentioned that every year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit the holy shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath which has had a significant impact on the state’s economy. Being an ideal tourist destination for family tours, honeymoon tours, and the perfect place for adventure enthusiasts, Jammu & Kashmir offers abundant tour options for travelers of all kind.
Mr. Anil Parashar, President & CEO, InterGlobe Technology Quotient, said that tourism is the largest industry in Jammu city. It is also a focal point for the pilgrims going to Vaishno Devi and Kashmir Valley as it is second last railway terminal in North India. All the routes leading to Kashmir, Poonch, Doda, and Ladakh start from Jammu city. Throughout the year, the city remains full of people from all the parts of India.
Mr. Rahul Sahai, CEO, Reliable Plastics, talked about the tourist places in Jammu and suggested introducing Rural and Village Tourism in the UT. He also said that along with new tourist accommodation facilities, other facilities for adventure tourists, tent accommodations can be set up and permitted across the valleys. He emphasized that single window clearance is the need of the hour for all the licenses required to travel to the state.
Mr. Rajan Sehgal, Co-Founder, Passionals, proposed the formal vote of thanks. The webinar witnessed participation from senior government officials, tour operators, hoteliers, tour guides, airline professionals, travel and hospitality associations, students from the tourism and hospitality institutes.
PHDCCI’s webinar was supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. It was also supported by Annual Sponsors such as DLF India; Multani Pharmaceuticals; UFLEX; JK Tyre & Industries; Marble City; Paramount Cables; SMC Investments and Advisors; Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic; Comtech Interio; DCM Shriram Industries; Radico Khaitan; R.E. Rogers India; Ajit Industries; Synergy Environics; EaseMyTrip; Continental Carriers; Timberworkz; Jindal Stainless; Modern Automobiles; P S Bedi & Co; IFFCO and Hindware.
The next Webinar on Border Tourism with Focus State – Mizoram is scheduled for 22 October 2021 from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM and shall focus on Mamit district.