Stressing upon Development Authorities to work on self sustaining basis, Minister of State for Tourism, Education, Technical Education, Culture, Horticulture, Floriculture and Parks Priya Sethi said that the government has created the development authorities to harness the tourist potential of specific areas to the optimum. The authorities should focus on increasing tourist inflow so that enough revenue can be generated for creating better tourist facilities, she added. She said the Jammu province has vast potential for adventure tourism, pilgrim tourism, scenic tourism and culture tourism and Development Authorities should work on exploiting the potential to its fullest. The Minister said this while chairing a high level review meeting of the Tourism Development Authorities of Jammu province, here today. Joint Director Tourism, CEOs of Tourism Development Authority Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Surinsar-Mansar, Rajouri, Poonch and Lakhanpur- Sarthal attended the meeting. Calling for utilizing modern IT tools for attracting tourists, Priya said that easy availability of information with regard to the tourist destinations goes a long way in promoting the destination and the development authorities should develop and upgrade websites, adding that updated information with regard to all the tourist spots including facilities available, has to be updated on these websites. She called upon the Chief Executive Officers of the authorities to expedite the process of finalising Master Plans of the authorities and instructed that holistic development plan needs to be formulated for overall development of the areas. She also directed for exploring possibilities of offsite campus of Food Craft Institute at Bhaderwah besides organising short term courses at different tourist destinations so as to ensure that local people can be trained in cooking and other tourist related activities. Underscoring on developing innovative tourism projects, the Minister said that sports tourism, border tourism, pilgrim tourism are key areas in which the province has major advantage and involvement of private corporate players by public private partnerships can take the tourism to new heights in the State. She said that special tourist packages need to be announced and hoteliers should be involved to extend such offers. She directed the concerned officers to organise special festivals and events at different locations in the province so as to highlight the tourist destinations as well as rich cultural heritage of the State, adding that a calendar of events should be prepared in advance and events like Jammu Festival, Shiv Khori Mela, Lohri Festival, Baisakhi Festivals and other such events in Bhaderwah, Basohli as well as other locations should be organised with pomp and show. While giving patient hearing to the issues raised by the CEOs, Priya ensured that the genuine demands put forth for the overall development of the areas would be actively considered and the issues would be taken up for ensuring time bound redressal.
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