After announcing the procedure for registering homestays and paying guest houses to make it easier for more people to enter the tourism industry, the Jammu and Kashmir government has set the target of 25,000 homestay beds by December 31.
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who chaired a high-level meeting to review the new initiatives of the Tourism Department at Raj Bhawan here on Thursday, instructed the concerned to identify major tourist attractions where tented accommodation can be developed through a public-private partnership.
He also sought a detailed report on homestays, setting up of tented accommodation at major tourist attractions, adventure activities, new trekking routes identified, border tourism and capacity-building programmes at various levels.
While reviewing the measures being taken to promote homestays in J&K, the LG was informed that around 800 such facilities were already registered with the Tourism Department.
The Lt Governor directed Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez to submit a report on the number of tourists staying at these homestays, and set the target of enhancing the capacities of homestays to 25,000 beds by December 31, 2022.
Not only does the concept of homestays generate employment, but it also promotes local culture, cuisine, handicrafts etc. Under the J&K government’s new policy, homestays/paying guest houses would be encouraged at the 75 new tourist destinations recently put on the tourist map by the Department. This is expected to increase the tourist footfall by a considerable measure.
Since homestays and tented accommodations are becoming popular among domestic and foreign tourists, the J&K government is also making efforts to promote tent stay at scenic locations that will deliver rapid growth to the tourism industry.
In recent times, the Tourism Department has taken several path-breaking steps to extend the tourist seasons, add more destinations to the tourist map, make J&K a round-the-year destination, promotion of golf, a rigorous promotional campaign, and thrust on adventure and heritage tourism, to name a few.
The Tourist Villages Development programme under the Mission Youth initiative, which aims at developing 75 villages having distinction in terms of scenic beauty, adventurous terrain, art and culture, history and archaeology, is gaining tremendous momentum with heavy tourist influx thronging the new destinations.
Due to these efforts, J&K has witnessed a boom in tourist arrivals over the past six months and many experts say the tourist footfall this year has been the highest in the last 15 years.