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Kashmir’s post-pandemic popularity as travel destination on surge: HAI report

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STATE TIMES NEWS

Jammu: Unveiling a “Vision 2047” document, the Hotel Association of India (HAI) presented a 25-year roadmap of the future of the hospitality and tourism industry in Kashmir and said its post-pandemic popularity as a travel destination has increased.
“The report highlights the rising appeal of Kashmir as a travel destination, especially for adventure tourism, in the aftermath of the pandemic,” HAI said in a statement here.
This recognition of Kashmir’s allure coincides with an increase in tourist numbers, which is bolstered by an increased support from the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration, it said.
Last year, approximately 18 million tourists visited J&K and G20 related events and this year’s Miss World programme have positioned the UT as a prominent contender in event tourism, it said.
“The recent G20 meeting hosted in the Union territory not only gave a boost to regional tourism but also showcased the area’s potential as a destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) and wedding tourism,” the HAI added.
KB Kachru, Vice President of HAI, highlighted Kashmir’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty as the reason for the recent improvement in tourism. The HAI report also addresses challenges in sustainable tourism growth and suggests policy interventions to meet tourism targets, he said.
The Union government has allocated a record budget of Rs 786 crores for the Jammu and Kashmir tourism sector, a substantial increase from previous allocations, to harness tourism’s potential for job creation and inclusive economic growth, the statement said.
Planned allocations for all 20 districts of the Union territory have more than doubled from Rs 5,136 crores in 2020-2021 to Rs 12,600 crores in 2021-2022, it added. The report explores various potential scenarios for the future and what the industry can achieve by the time India celebrates its 100th year of Independence, it said. The document envisions a dynamic, vibrant hospitality industry that contributes to the nation’s development goals, said MP Bezbaruah, secretary general of the Hotel Association of India.
HAI released the report following a meeting with Union Secretary (Tourism) V Vidyavathi, during which the association presented her with a copy of the report.

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