Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating to organise a chain of activities during the current tourism season, as part of its efforts to attract large number of tourists and showcase the rich cultural heritage and major products of the state.
"Tourism is a tool for the economic development of both urban and rural areas and to boost the sector, state government contemplates to organise a chain of activities during current season," Commissioner Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Atul Dullo said here.
Dullo said as part of the programme, the Department of Tourism, Kashmir is organising a "first of its kind" `Tourist Festival of Kashmir` from May 14 to May 29, during which various activities will be held at the famous tourist spots including Kashmir Haat.
"These activities are aimed at attracting large number of tourists and showcasing the handicrafts and other products of Kashmir," he said.
Dullo was addressing a meeting of officers, tour operators and hoteliers, convened last evening to review the arrangements being made to organise the festival.
The Union Tourism Ministry on May 4 announced the festival as a "major initiative for the promotion of tourism in Kashmir Valley". The festival will be held for the fortnight at different places in the state.
Dullo said the festival, which will be funded jointly by the state and Central governments, besides private partners like Tour Operators, Hoteliers, Houseboat owners and other agencies related to tourism sector shall also play a vital role in making the festival a success.
The inaugural function of the festival will be held at Kashmir Haat on May 14 and state tourism minister GA Mir will be the chief guest on the occasion. Minister of State for tourism Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo and Union Tourism Secretary Parvez Dewan will be guests of honour.
Dullo said besides presentation of cultural bonanza, exhibition stalls will be set up to showcase various products of art and craft of Kashmir, horticulture produce, agro based food products and live demos of preparation of local cuisine.
He said on May 15, famous Qawal, Sabri brothers will present Qawali at SKICC here, followed by Photography exhibition, trekking expedition at Zabarwan on days of the festival.
Director Tourism, Kashmir, Talat Pervez, who was present in the meeting, apprised about the steps taken by the department to involve all the stakeholders to participate in this "economy boosting" activity of the Valley.
He said river rafting, para-gliding, horse race, e-gaming will be the special attractions of the festival and the valedictory function of the festival will be held on May 29 at SKICC, in which dignitaries of the state as well as of other states will participate.