J&K Tourism Department plans to woo trekkers

Jammu and Kashmir tourism department has turned its focus on adventure tourism, and plans to open up some hitherto inaccessible spots to attract trekkers.

"This year has been declared adventure tourism year. We are creating facilities for trekking, paragliding and rafting," Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Secretary Farooq A Shah said in Mumbai on Friday.

He said, "We recently started heli-safari in Srinagar and helicopter services to major tourist destinations. We are the best in the country and we don't have any competitor in tourism. People need not go outside the country for tourism. You have your own Switzerland," the Tourism Secretary said.

As many as 8 million pilgrims visited Vaishno Devi temple in the state last year, he said. Pahalgam golf course has been rated as the most beautiful in the world, while Gulmarg has the world's highest skiing point, Shah said.

The state is also planning to promote Dachigam wildlife sanctuary, he said, adding Gurez has also emerged as an adventure tourism destination.

"We get 47 flights from Mumbai and Delhi to Srinagar and 20 flights to Jammu. We are also thinking of having some chartered flights," Shah said.

On complaints of fleecing by pony owners at Gulmarg, he said, "We won't allow anyone to fleece the tourists." Director, tourism, Mahmood Ahmed Shah said efforts were being made to popularise trekking to lakes.

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