‘Jan Abhiyan campaign’ underway at Offbeat Tourist Destinations

‘Jan Abhiyan campaign’ underway at Offbeat Tourist Destinations

JAMMU, OCTOBER 21: Under the close supervision of Secretary to the Government, Tourism Department J&K Sarmad Hafeez, the senior officers of Tourism Department held vigorous field tours to the offbeat tourist destinations under the ‘Jan Abhiyan’ campaign, recently launched by the government as a precursor to the ‘Back to Village Phase 4'.

A team visited the offbeat tourist destination ‘Aithem’ in Jammu district which is an upcoming tourist wonder for the paragliding and adventure enthusiasts. Amarjeet Singh, Special Secretary to the Government, Tourism Department, Sunaina Mehta Sharma, Joint Director Tourism Jammu along with Vishav Pratap Singh, Deputy Secretary Tourism Department visited village Aithem as part of the ‘Jan Abhiyan’ campaign.

Detailed deliberations regarding ‘Homestay Registration Policy' of Tourism Department J&K, identification and Capacity building of interested Homestay proprietors, formation of village cooperatives, identification and mapping of untapped tourism potential areas were held with the tourism stakeholders, potential homestay proprietors and PRI members.

Speaking on the occasion, Amarjeet Singh, Special Secretary to the Government, Tourism Department said that the focus of the Tourism Department is on the overall development of tourist circuits vis-à-vis the offbeat tourist destinations and necessary directions have been issued down the line to implement the vision of the government for popularizing and developing these hidden gems of nature both in Jammu and Kashmir division. He emphasized on the need to enhance the dialogue between the department and the stakeholders to fill critical gaps in holistic development of all tourist destinations thereby enhancing the livelihood opportunities for locals especially the youth.

Sunaina Sharma elaborately defined the deliverables of the Tourism Department which have been outlined by the government for the ongoing ‘Jan Abhiyan’ of B2V4. She emphasized on the need for an effective and efficient approach towards ensuring visibility of the department on ground, to ensure that all the departmental schemes/ tourism promotional activities are practically implemented.

The officers also invited suggestions from the locals and travel trade members present during the interactive meeting, regarding promotion of New Tourist Places and bringing them on the national/ international Tourism map. Interestingly both the destinations of Aithem and Jhajjar Kotli have been designated as ‘Off Beat Tourist Destinations’ of Jammu District among other places, and the Tourism Department is laying special emphasis on overall development and integration of these destinations with the tourism map so that diversification of tourism areas is accomplished with true essence.

Later ,the team of the tourism department headed by Jt. Director Tourism visited Jhajjar Kotli and Panthal which are also among the offbeat tourist destinations of Jammu Division. She laid special emphasis on promoting adventure sports namely paragliding, Ziplining, giant swings etc. in all potential areas of Jammu Division. Further elaborating the exigency to up scale the diverse tourism experience for visiting tourists, she said that the tourists visiting Katra must be given opportunities to explore other potential areas of Jammu region especially Jhajjar Kotli, Devi Pindi, Panthal since these areas are in close vicinity to Katra town. She also clarified that Aithem, Baradari, Dhanwa are under active consideration by the Government to bring it on the national adventure Tourism map. Multiple paragliding trails are successfully conducted at Aithem and Dhanwa, and soon requisite P3, P4 pilot training programme shall be organized by the Tourism Department at Aithem which shall be beneficial for all interested stakeholders of Jammu division.

She also educated the local community participants to maintain close liaison with the Government Departments for availing benefits of the schemes available with the various Departments. It was also discussed to maintain ecological balance and practice sustainable Tourism to keep the environment in and around both the destinations pollution free.

The Local community was also told about the rich diversity and importance of 2 Ramsar Sites i.e, Surinsar Lake and Mansar Lake available in their vicinity and they must take maximum benefit from these two natural Treasures. The local stakeholders were educated to keep a cordial relationship with the visitors so that the publicity of the virgin destinations can be carried out through word of mouth.

Prominent attendees from the tourism travel trade fraternity present at Aithem were Balbir Singh, Raminder K Samnotra, Pritam Sharma, Ashwani Charak, Manik Malhotra, Mandeep Kaur, Swaran Singh, Varun Gupta among others and the PRI members.

At Jhajjar Kotli the prominent locals who attended the meeting were Smt. Nisha Rajput, Sarpanch Jhajjar Kotli and Tarsem Singh Panch, Jhajjar Kotli. The sensitization camp at Panthal was attended by Rajinder Mengi DDC member Panthal, Chandermohan Singh BDC Chairman Panthal among others who also attended it with great zeal and welcoming enthusiasm for the visiting senior officer.