Advisor reviews progress in tourism sector

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, June 26: Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar today chaired a maiden meeting of Tourism Department to review its functioning and progress made on various developmental projects under various State and Central Sponsored Schemes.
Secretary Tourism Rigzin Samphel, Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah, Director Tourism Jammu, Smita Sethi and other senior officials of the department were present in the meeting.
Addressing the officers, the Advisor called for putting in coordinated efforts at various levels in the administration and with the executing agencies to address the bottlenecks, if any, hampering the progress on the developmental projects. He called for regular follow-up of the projects to achieve the desired results at the earliest.
The officers of the Tourism Department briefed the meeting about various ongoing projects to develop the tourism infrastructure in the State.
While reviewing the facilities available for the tourists in the State, the Advisor was informed that there are about 1560 hotels, 787 guest houses and 910 houseboats in the State registered with the department having about 85672 bed capacity. It was informed that 281906 tourists visited the State upto May this year.
The meeting was told that various projects worth Rs 569.19 crores are in progress and two installments have been released so far for different projects including construction of assets in lieu of those destroyed in 2014 floods.
Detailed discussion was also held on the progress made on Cable Car projects in the State including ropeway from Bahu Fort to Mahamaya Park in Jammu and renovation of the first phase of Gulmarg Gondola. Officials informed that the trial of the Jammu ropeway will start soon while renovation works of Gulmarg Gondola will be completed soon and the first phase will restart by early July.
While discussing the performance of JKTDC and various Tourist Development Authorities, the Advisor stressed for speedily developing all tourist circuits with all requisite facilities for the visiting tourists. All the potential tourist places must be developed on the modern lines and every facility must be provided at these places so that tourists do not face any inconvenience and after return must act as ambassadors to the Tourism Department as well as the State, he said.
The meeting also discussed some key issues of the department including absence of review mechanism, scattered works, reimbursement of GST, drafting of tourism policy for the State and fighting bad publicity.