Jammu, October 30
With the dip in temperature in mountainous areas of Jammu division, tourists from across the country are flocking the notable spots.
The hill resort of Patnitop has been witnessing a beeline of tourists. Apart from religious sites like Vaishno Devi, Jammu’s picturesque areas like Bhaderwah, Bani and Basohli have been attracting visitors.
Saiyansh Gupta, 42, of Madhya Pradesh, who along with his wife and daughter was at Patnitop, said that due to recent targeted killings in Kashmir, his family decided to visit Jammu region after consulting his friend here.
J&K has seen a record number of tourists this year. As per official records, 1.62 crore tourists, including Vaishno Devi and Amarnath pilgrims, visited the UT from January to early October.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had recently claimed that tourism had generated maximum employment in various regions, including Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir. Homestays are also increasing in the UT, drawing tourists in far off and unexplored areas.
The previous governments have been accused of deliberately ignoring the tourist spots in Jammu region.
Stuti Sharma, 28 a resident of Rajasthan, who visited Nathatop along with her husband, said that such scenic areas were not there even in Himachal Pradesh she visited last year. “These areas should be properly developed keeping in mind the environment. Nowhere in the country such beautiful mountains are found but the access to these is difficult due to absence of a proper road and guidance,” she said.
Authorities are keeping their fingers crossed for a large number of tourist arrival in Patnitop even during snow season, especially from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.
To increase the footfall by rolling out new infrastructure, Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez recently organised a meeting for identification of infrastructure gaps and requirement, and identification of places having tourism potential in Patnitop area.
Tourism took a major hit in Bhaderwah in Doda district after communal tension that resulted in curfew for a few days. The area has now started witnessing footfall of tourists once again.
Navdeep Wazir, Chief Executive Officer, Bhaderwah Development Authority, said crew of some movies had come to the scenic town for shooting recently. “Tourism is being revived slowly and steadily in the area and more film shootings are lined up. Tourists have also started coming but their number remained dip for a long time,” he added.
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