Border tourism gains momentum in Jammu and Kashmir- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

SRINAGAR: With the security situation improving in the Valley and peace at the Line of Control (LoC) due to the ongoing border ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani troops, the border areas, which used to be no-go areas for civilians, have been opened up for border tourism, prompting the locals to convert their houses into homestays for tourists.

The Tourism Department has opened up border areas of Gurez in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district and Teetwal in the border district of Kupwara for tourists. Both Gurez and Teetwal lie close to the Line of Control and have been quiet and calm since India and Pakistan agreed in February last year to strictly adhere to the November 2003 border ceasefire pact.

A resident of Gurez said with the guns falling silent on both sides of LoC, the residents are enjoying a new lease of life. “We are living without any threat or fear to our lives. And this visible change on the ground has also benefited us as the Gurez has now been thrown open for the tourists,” he said.

Director Tourism Kashmir Fazl ul Haseeb said anybody can go and travel to Gurez and Teetwal border areas now. “No permission is needed for visiting there. The tourists are visiting the places and enjoying the natural beauty,” he said.

In order to attract travelers to the border areas, the tourism department has been holding tourism
festivals in Gurez and Teetwal since last year. On September 3 this year, a polo match was played in Gurez among two teams of local youth after six decades. The match was a major attraction of the Grand Gurez Festival organized this year.

Besides being picturesque, Gurez is known for adventure tourism, fishing, rafting, and trekking, among others. Earlier, in February this year, Gurez was in the news after a snow cricket tournament was organized in the Dawar area of ​​Gurez in which 10 teams participated.

“After opening up Gurez and Teetwal, we are also planning to open an accessible border area of ​​Uri in north Kashmir for the tourists,” said Director Tourism Kashmir.

Uri had also been witnessing cross-border shelling and firing between Indian and Pakistani troops in the past and now is reaping the dividends of cessation of hostilities at the border due to the border ceasefire pact. With the tourists visiting the once “no-go areas” and the Tourism Department also promoting these border areas, the locals are converting their houses into homestays for the tourists. A person can convert his home into home stays provided it has basic infrastructure available. Besides, tented accommodation is being set up in the border areas to accommodate tourists.

Haseeb said with further improvement in the security situation, they in collaboration with the army and security forces would further liberalize visits to the border areas.

Uttarakhand emerges ‘best tourist destination’, Haridwar cleanest
Dehradun: Uttarakhand has emerged as the best tourist destination in the country. Along with winning the first prize for the all-around development of tourism in the state, it has also won the award of ‘Best Tourist Destination’.

In another important achievement, six cities of the state have been selected under the Swachh Bharat Mission. Haridwar has been selected for the cleanliness award in the category of Ganga cities. Apart from this, Dehradun has also been included in the award in the special category of populated cities.

The Center has lauded the efforts of the state government while presenting the best tourism destination award and first prize for the all-around development of tourism at the National Tourism Awards program held in Delhi on Tuesday under the aegis of the Union Tourism Ministry. Tourism Minister Maharaj said that apart from this, an attractive scheme has been started for travel influencers. Under this, these people who make videos not only in English but also in regional languages ​​will be listed in the department.

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