SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism sector will soon become the engine of growth for the Union Territory, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said on Sunday after inaugurating the Bangus Adventure Festival in the Bangus Valley of Kupwara district.
“Offbeat destinations such as Bangus are the ideal escape for travellers seeking leisurely adventures and enchanting experiences. From adventure, exquisite cuisine, pilgrimage, traditional handicrafts to serene mountains, Jammu and Kashmir offers everything,” Sinha said.
He also welcomed the tourists and wished them a memorable stay.
“We live by the motto of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava (Guest is God)’. I hope you will take memorable experiences from your visit to this beautiful valley, which has emerged as a premier offbeat destination,” he said.
Sinha said the festival will highlight the rural and adventure tourism potential of Bangus Valley, promote its tribal culture and provide a platform for local artisans to showcase traditional arts and crafts.
The Lt Governor also highlighted Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism potential and shared details about the administration’s efforts to promote the sector.
“We have completely transformed the tourism industry and Jammu and Kashmir has been positioned as the most promising destination. The tourism sector will soon become the engine of growth for the Union Territory,” Sinha said.
The administration aims to attract a greater share of tourists and provide a lifetime experience to travellers, explorers and art lovers, the Lt Governor said.
Around 300 new destinations, including heritage sites, offbeat, adventure and spiritual destinations, are being developed to provide a variety of getaway options for domestic and foreign tourists, Sinha added.
He also spoke about India’s presidency of the G20, saying it has made every citizen of the country proud.
“After the success of the G20 (meetings) in Jammu and Kashmir, we are witnessing a multifold increase in foreign tourist arrivals. Tourists visiting in record numbers is also a reflection of the new aspiration of Jammu and Kashmir,” Sinha added.
Sinha, a former Union minister, also asked citizens to discharge their responsibility in maintaining a peaceful environment to achieve sustainable socioeconomic growth.
Without peace, no development and tourism can happen. It is not only the job of security forces and police to ensure peace but everyone, including local residents and elected representatives, have to play their part. Years of terrorism and its ecosystem had destroyed the peace and prosperity while tourism is now uniting one and all, he said.
The Lt Governor also flagged off various rallies and activities as part of the festival.
The Bangus Adventure Festival offers a host of activities such as paragliding, horse riding, hot air balloon, cultural events and games for tourists.