The government New new rules to Boost J&K’s Hospitality sector

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The government New new rules to Boost J&K’s Hospitality sector.

In a significant move aimed at enhancing the ease of doing business in Jammu & Kashmir’s hospitality sector, the Government has decided to repeal the outdated registration and trade rules governing hotels. This initiative seeks to address the long-standing concerns of the tourism industry and promote growth within the sector.

In an exclusive interview with Excelsior, Commissioner/Secretary of the Tourism Department, Yasha Mudgal, highlighted the issues with the existing rules. “The registration and trade rules in J&K were outdated and generated considerable resentment. They required annual registration and numerous clearances,” she explained. “To support and help the tourism industry flourish, we have decided to repeal these old rules.”

Mudgal announced that new trade and registration rules are currently being formulated and will soon be released for public suggestions and objections. “These new rules aim to address all concerns of the hotel industry, simplifying the registration and renewal process,” she said.

The Commissioner/Secretary also emphasized the need to explore new tourism destinations due to the heavy load on existing ones. “Developing infrastructure at new tourist destinations is a huge project, and the government wants to proceed in a planned manner,” she noted.

New tourist destinations such as Doodpathri in Kashmir and Bhaderwah in the Jammu division are witnessing an increase in visitors. Additional locations across J&K have been finalized for development. “These destinations will be developed systematically over the next 5-7 years. A work plan is under formulation, and consultants will be engaged for phased implementation,” Mudgal stated.

Addressing the issue of houseboats, whose numbers have decreased due to the non-availability of specific wood for reconstruction and repairs, Mudgal said the Tourism Department is in active talks with the Forest Department. “We are urging them to introduce special provisions to facilitate houseboat owners with the necessary materials for repairs and renovation,” she said. “Houseboats are a crucial segment of tourism in J&K, and we aim to promote them.”

Regarding the overall tourism scenario in J&K, Mudgal noted a significant increase in tourist arrivals post-COVID-19 and post-Article 370. “Last year, J&K recorded 2.11 crore tourist visits, and we hope to exceed that number this year,” she said. “There has also been a 300 percent increase in foreign tourists, with nearly 55,000 visiting Kashmir last year.”

Mudgal acknowledged the need for more tourism infrastructure, stating that the current capacity at most destinations is insufficient. “The homestay policy introduced by the government is doing particularly well, with around 2,000 homestays registered and 1,500 more in the pipeline,” she added.

The Commissioner/Secretary also addressed issues in border areas, emphasizing improvements in public amenities, stay arrangements, and connectivity. “We are working on all these fronts, and there has been an increase in tourism-related infrastructure over the past few years,” she said.

On complaints of overcharging, Mudgal clarified that hotel prices are driven by demand and supply, and the government does not regulate them. She also addressed complaints of tourist harassment by guides and others, stating, “We are taking active steps to regulate these issues and ensure they do not happen.”

Finally, Mudgal discussed the initiative to promote Kashmir as a wedding destination. “The initiative is progressing well, but there is a need for more systematic and organized efforts. Both directorates have been asked to share their inputs to frame an SOP document to help Kashmir flourish as a wedding destination,” she concluded.

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Ahmed Mainul

My self Ahmed Mainul Mondal, and I'm the founder of the hospitality career profile website. I'm writing blogs and news posts as per user preferences.

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