MUMBAI, Feb 4 (PTI): The Jammu and Kashmir administration is expecting 15-20 per cent year-on-year growth in travellers visiting the Union Territory in 2023 and has developed 75 new destinations to reduce footfalls to the most visited places, a top official said on Saturday.
Over 1.8 crore people, including 20,000 overseas travellers, visited Jammu and Kashmir after the COVID-related restrictions were eased.
Jammu and Kashmir as an all-year-round destination is expecting 15-20 per cent growth in footfalls in 2023 compared to last year, J&K Special Secretary, Tourism, Amarjeet Singh said.
“Looking at the growing interest of people wanting to visit Jammu and Kashmir, we have added 75 new destinations that have ample scenic beauty. This will not only reduce pressure from the popular places but also help in reducing the carbon footprint of the most visited place,” Singh told PTI.
The government is focusing on homestays in these new destinations to maintain the scenic beauty and the ecology of the areas, Singh added.
Some of these new destinations are Bani in Kathua district, Aithem, Suchetgarh, Basholi, Sarthal, Pancheri, Ransoo, Budhal and many more, he noted.
“We have created basic infrastructure in these destinations and are promoting homestays. We want to maintain the existing natural beauty of these new places, which will be sustainable and attract people with an experience that will be in their memory for many years.
“We are focused on sustainable tourism in both old and new destinations. We are not looking at concretisation in these areas,” Singh said.
The Union Territory, he said, is focused on experience tourism offering niche products, including meetings, incentives, conventions and events (MICE), golfing, paragliding, bird watching, river rafting, kayaking and new trekking routes, among others.
Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism is currently participating in the 3-day Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) 2023, which began on February 2.
The event saw the participation of over 1,250 exhibitors from 50 countries and 30 Indian states/UTs, showcasing their destinations to boost tourism.