Jammu tourism focusing on domestic tourists
In conversation with Smita Sethi, Director Jammu Tourism
Jammu Tourism is primarily focusing on domestic tourists from north, central and south India. The tourism department is also promoting adventure sports, including hiking and trekking, for national and international tourists.
With high season approaching, what are the new attractions Jammu is offering to tourists?
Tourists can visit a variety of destinations like Patnitop, Sanasar, Bhaderwah, Sudh Mahadev, Mantalai, Shiv Khori, Mansar, Surinsar, Border Tourism Circuits like Suchetgarh and Baba Chamliyal R.S Pura, Akhnoor and other surrounding areas.
Jammu Tourism has been promoting golf tourism for some time. How has the response been, especially from foreign tourists?
The tourism department has a fully functional 18-hole golf course in Jammu city. It is known as Jammu Tawi Sidhra Golf Course. Due to the scenic location of the golf course, it can attract a lot of golfers and for that, wide publicity of Golf tourism in Jammu is being done at national level.
What is the current status of foreign tourist arrivals in the state? How do you plan to increase the numbers and what innovative strategies are you planning to adopt?
More than 9.3 million domestic tourists visit Jammu every year and most of them come for visiting the holy shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi. Hence, the main stress is on domestic tourists, especially from northern, central and southern India.
To promote spiritual and cultural tourism further, the department organises various fairs and festivals such as the Jammu Festival, Baisakhi and Shivratri. Besides, the department also participates in various travel marts and exhibitions held across the country. We also promote the destination through distribution of publicity material, videos, and run advertisement campaigns on television and social media.
Are there any plans to promote food tourism, especially to woo the foreign travellers?
The department regularly organises food festivals in New Delhi and other parts of the country for promotion of regional ethnic food among potential tourists. Also, local cuisine is promoted at most tourism events within the state.
What are your plans to promote Jammu in the European market?
International tourism is one of our major targets after national tourism. MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) tourism is being promoted widely in addition to other niches of tourism.
What is your social media strategy to promote the state to a wider audience across the world?
We have launched a full-fledged social campaign through social media pages of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for promotion of Jammu Tourism. Besides this, a dedicated website for Jammu Tourism – www. jammutourism.gov.in has been launched for tourists from around the world.
Jammu for Adventure Enthusiasts
Its mountainous terrain, mostly covered with dense forests and with numerous water bodies such as lakes, rivers and streams, offer a wide range of adventure activities for visitors such as trekking, mountain biking, paragliding and whitewater rafting.
In addition to these adventure activities, the tourism department also organises adventure camps for tourist groups.
The region boasts of numerous biking trails, some of them are challenging enough for even the most experienced bikers.
Route 1: Jammu-Surinsar-Mansar-Billawar– Dhar Mahanpur–Basholi-Bani-Sarthal– Basohli–Jammu (four days).
Route 2: Jammu-Lakhanpur-Basholi-BaniBhaderwah-Kishtwar-Padder-SansariPadder-Kishtwar–Sinthan–KishtwarPatnitop-Jammu (eight days).
Route 3: Jammu-Patnitop-Kishtwar-Sinthan Top-Anantnag-Shopian-Pir Ki GaliPoonch-Rajouri-Jammu (four days).
Trekking: For trekkers too, the department has developed several options, offering differing degrees of difficulty: Trek 1: Kishtwar to Ikhalla by jeep in 2-3 hours. Ikhalla to Sounder by trekking in 8 hours.
Trek 2: Sounder to Kiber/Brahma by trekking (3-4 hours).
Trek 3: Kiber /Brahma to Sounder by trekking (3-4 hours).
Trek 4: Sounder to Ikhalla to Kishtwar by trekking/jeep in 8 hours or by a 3-hour drive.
Sample itinerary for a winter trek:
Drive from Jammu to Chadayi Muttal, stay at Chadayi Muttal for the night. Chadayi Muttal-Jungal Gali (7km), Jungal GaliMoongri via Sarloli Top (8km), MoongriPanchari (5.5km), Panchari-Sanasar via Sankhpal (5km), Sankhpal-Sanasar (7km).