Srinagar : The International Mountain Day- 2021 was celebrated with fervour and festivity by the Tourism Department across Kashmir valley with the main function being held here Saturday.
The Department, on the occasion, had organised many activities like release of trekking maps of offbeat destinations, screening of documentary film on Mount Everest, mountain biking and cycling etc at Zabarwan, Pahalgam Gulmarg, Naranag, Nowgam and at other locations.
At the main function here, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan was the Chief Guest on the occasion.
The theme for this year’s International Mountain Day has been “Sustainable Mountain Tourism” as Sustainable mountain tourism contributes to create additional and alternative livelihood options and helps in poverty alleviation and social inclusion.
Hundreds of adventure lovers including the various stakeholders took part in the programme.
The Department had pitched tented structures and put up a gallery depicting mountaineering through visual medium for the visitors and had put up stalls of mountaineering equipment and medicinal herbs derived from high altitude mountains. The Department also organised a one day workshop on Basic Life Support for Tourism Service Providers during which the tourist guides were provided training to handle emergency situations while mountaineering.
While speaking on the occasion, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan said that Mountain Tourism is gaining momentum and touching new heights. He said that good members of young and adventurous tourists are showing their inclination towards mountain tourism and advised the Tourism Department to capitalise on it. He said that the government with an aim to lower the burden on the famous tourist spots of Jammu and Kashmir, is exploring virgin destinations. This, he said, will increase the footfall of the tourists while at the same time will prevent our ecology and create avenues for sustainable tourism.
Complimenting the Department for its efforts, the Advisor said that Jammu & Kashmir is blessed with majestic mountains and treks which make it one of the preferred destinations for mountain based adventure activities. He congratulated the Tourism department for its efforts in increasing the footfall of tourists and observed that the Department is touching new heights. He said that Kashmir Valley is registering impressive tourist arrivals which have been the result of sustained efforts by the Department in terms of sustained capacity building of stakeholders, vaccination drives and forceful promotions across markets in the country. He also said that the training workshop organized Saturday by the Department for Tourism Service Providers is a step in the right direction.
In his address, Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Sarmad Hafeez dwelt in detail about the importance and scope of adventure tourism in Jammu & Kashmir. He said during the last year the Department, sensing the changing preferences of tourists, accorded priority to developing trekking and mountaineering in J&K besides inducting much sophisticated equipment for use by the trekkers and mountaineers. He said already the Government has thrown many treks open to tourists.
The Tourism Secretary said the Department has devised an activity calendar for the coming seasons and in the coming days; the Department is planning to celebrate Christmas and New Year with renewed fanfare and festivity.
Earlier in his welcome address, Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. G N Itoo said that while the department is working on increasing the footfall of tourists, it is also working on reducing carbon footprints in order to protect our biodiversity. He said sanitation and cleanliness drives are being held regularly at all tourist destinations.