Efforts underway to make J-K country's most preferred tourist destination: LG Sinha

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Jammu, Nov 1 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday said his administration is working on a strategic plan for development of the tourism sector to make the union territory the most preferred tourist destination in the country.

Sinha was speaking after inaugurating virtually the Comprehensive Mansar Rejuvenation and Development Plan worth Rs 198.37 crore in the presence of Union minister Jitendra Singh, an official spokesperson said.

'The UT Government is working on a strategic plan for growth and development of tourism sector. With numerous heritage sites, world-class infrastructure and promotion of adventure sports, we can achieve the tag of India's most preferred tourist destination,' Sinha said.

'I am thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the historic step of developing our rich cultural, historical, natural and religious heritage into world-class tourist destinations,' he said.

Sinha said tourism contributes about 7 per cent to Jammu and Kashmir's GDP and the revival of the tourism sector is the topmost priority of his administration.

'New policies will help in value creation and profitability for local businesses. In the last two months, the UT Government, in consultation with officers and stakeholders, is working for bringing tourist spots of J-K on the world tourism map,' he said.

The LG said his administration is implementing recommendations made by a committee constituted in August for the development of the tourism sector and for the welfare of all those associated with it.

'J-K has abundant wealth in terms of water bodies. The Government is working rigorously for conservation and preservation of water bodies and is taking comprehensive measures for restoring their ecosystem,' he said.

Highlighting various initiatives taken for the growth and development of the tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir, the LG said the tourism department has also framed a policy for seeking investment for tourist destinations and areas where such potential is yet to be fully explored.

'Under the tourism policy, various incentives, in addition to the ones already covered under the industrial policy, have been proposed to be provided to new investment in this sector,' he said.

Sinha said development of religious tourism is also one of the focus areas of the administration.

He said the central government has allocated Rs 706 crore for the tourism sector which will go a long way in the revival of tourism infrastructure.

He said the prestigious Mansar project aims at increasing tourist footfall, which in turn will facilitate the socio-economic development of the area, open more avenues for its holistic development and generate more employment opportunities for locals.

Located in the close vicinity of Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, Mansar and the nearby Surinsar are the most popular tourist destinations in the Jammu region.

'Mansar is of immense importance from pilgrimage as well heritage points of view besides being the most scenic attraction due to the vast Mansar Lake, its wildlife sanctuary and flora and fauna,' Sinha said.

'The implementation of its rejuvenation plan will certainly bring Mansar on the world tourism map,' Sinha said.

The administration has set a target of completing the project within five years, he said. PTI TAS DIV DIV