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JK Govt to Unveil New Tourist Destinations to Ease Overcrowding at Popular Sites

By Ishtiyaq Kar
Srinagar, July 10:In a strategic move to promote sustainable tourism and alleviate overcrowding at popular tourist spots, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government is set to identify and develop lesser-known destinations across the region.
These new sites will be selected based on their unique attributes and potential for activities like adventure sports, nature exploration, leisure, pilgrimage, and eco-tourism.
Officials have revealed that the J&K administration plans to present this ambitious initiative to the Union Ministry of Tourism and the World Bank for funding and support. This initiative comes in response to an unprecedented surge in visitors to renowned hotspots such as Dal Lake, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonmarg this year.
Tourists from across the country are increasingly exploring new destinations in Kashmir and other parts of the Union Territory. “There is a lot of rush of tourists in Gurez, Keran, Bangus Valley, and other destinations. People love these places because they offer everything they want; there is so much more to explore in Kashmir. The government should develop these new tourist spots so more people can come and enjoy,” said Mukesh, a recent visitor to Gurez.
In this regard Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo chaired a high-level meeting to review the tourism department’s proposal. The meeting included key officials such as the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) of Forests, the Commissioner Secretary of Tourism, the Secretary of Revenue, the Directors of Tourism for both Jammu and Kashmir, and the Director General of Budget, among others.
Dulloo emphasized the importance of selecting under-visited destinations with significant development potential. He proposed creating tourism circuits that connect these new spots with other nearby, lesser-known destinations. The Chief Secretary highlighted the need to incorporate a variety of activities, from adventure sports to eco-tourism, to attract a diverse range of tourists.
During the meeting, Commissioner Secretary of Tourism Yasha Mudgal outlined the proposal’s main features. She focused on leveraging existing infrastructure and improving bed capacity, connectivity, communication networks, medical facilities, sanitation, and other amenities. The plan also includes developing comprehensive master plans for these areas.
The proposal aims to identify zones suitable for various tourism activities such as paragliding, zip-lining, camping, skiing, trekking, mountaineering, rafting, and canoeing. The goal is to make these destinations attractive year-round.
Dulloo also stressed the importance of promoting high-end and niche tourism to diversify J&K’s tourism offerings. He called for a strategic marketing approach to highlight these new destinations and address the overcrowding at more popular sites.
The initiative has already shown promise, with new tourist destinations drawing visitors and boosting the Home Stay program in several villages.

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