Ladakh Administration is laying a strong emphasis on promoting Border Tourism in the region. However, the Union Territory is focusing on preserving its environment, ecology and culture through Responsible and Sustainable Tourism. This was deliberated by the Speakers during the 11th webinar under PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Border Tourism Webinar Series held on 12 November 2021 focusing on Leh and Kargil districts for the promotion of Border Tourism in Ladakh. The webinar was supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
Delivering the Chief Guest Address, Mr. Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Member of Parliament– Lok Sabha & President, Bharatiya Janata Party Ladakh, said that Ladakh has a huge potential in the tourism sector but it is looking for quality tourism and not just quantity tourism. Hence sustainable development in the region is important for a pathway towards Sustainable Tourism.
Since its opening for the tourists in 1974, Ladakh has attracted many foreign tourists and in the recent years there has been an increase in domestic tourists also, said Mr. Namgyal. Winter Tourism is another important segment and to promote this further, the U. T. will be organizing a month long Winter Sports Festival for the adventure enthusiasts in February 2022.
He further mentioned that it is important for our own people to explore and be aware of Ladakh’s rural areas as it will further increase tourism and consequently uplift the livelihood of the locals. Border Tourism is crucial for strengthening national security while establishing a strong foothold at India’s border areas. Therefore, increase in Border Tourism is directly linked to the national interest.
Ms. Rupinder Brar (IRS), Additional Director General– Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, appreciated the efforts taken by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for improving connectivity in Ladakh region. Connectivity is the key for tourism anywhere in the world and especially in border areas, she said. The role of Border Tourism in bringing local communities together is crucial in today’s time. She emphasized that there is a need for capacity building and skill development as it will help to scale up the quality of human resources while creating employment opportunities for the locals.
While giving an overview about the tourist places in Ladakh, Mr. K Mehboob Ali Khan (IRS), Secretary– Tourism and Culture, Administration of U. T. of Ladakh, said that Ladakh has rich heritage sites, flora and fauna, religious tourism places, a majority of which are yet to be discovered. The Ladakh Administration has recently done away with the Inner Line Permit (ILP) for domestic tourists visiting all notified protected areas of the region which will further help in increasing tourism. However, the Administration is laying great emphasis on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism and not just looking at numbers. The Secretary Tourism informed that the Administration will soon launch its Tourism Policy, where Border Tourism will also be included.
Mr. Vinod Zutshi (Retd. IAS), Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, mentioned that the border areas of Ladakh have their unique selling prospects such as geo-climate, historical value, connections to the age old trade routes, some of the highest plateau ranges, sparsely populated localities with secular harmony. He suggested that the tourism department should utilize the financial package from the Government of India for improving infrastructure in the region. The Administration needs to work towards enhancement of wayside amenities, digital connectivity and up gradation of homestays.
Mr. Deleks Namgyal, President, All Ladakh Tour Operator Association, said that Ladakh Tourism is now in full swing as infrastructure development like roads and telecom towers have brought both physical and digital connectivity in the region. The new Homestay Policy is a great initiative to bring tourists closer to the rustic culture of Ladakh. The Umling La Pass has become a major attraction for thousands of tourists and with the opening of Siachen Glacier base camp, it will certainly boost tourism, employment and stronger border presence in Ladakh.
Mr. Skarma T. Dehlex, President, All Ladakh Hotel & Guest House Association, mentioned that Border Tourism will uplift and enhance the lifestyle of the people in Ladakh’s rural areas. Sustainable Tourism of Ladakh can be truly achieved by bringing in the confidence of the locals for effective policy making regarding tourism.
In his Presidential Address, Mr. Pradeep Multani, President, PHDCCI, said that tourism in Ladakh offers a variety of sightseeing and entertainment opportunities for all kinds of travellers. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has recently declared some more areas of Ladakh opened for international tourism– Khaltse, Nubra and Nyoma sub-division. These areas are among the outstanding feature of Himalayan panorama. It could be yet another destination for the global tourists looking for Cultural and Adventure Tourism.
Mr. Pawan S. Jain, Chair– Tourism & Hospitality Committee, PHDCCI, said that tourism has won a wide recognition as an important industry in Ladakh in view of its potential for creation of employment opportunities and generation of income on a large scale. The recent announcement by the Government of India to boost air connectivity to the Ladakh region, planning four new airports and 37 helipads will not just boost tourism, but also serve as vital assets for the armed forces and help deliver quick relief during natural disasters.
Mr. Rajan Sehgal, Co-Chair– Tourism & Hospitality Committee, PHDCCI, proposed the formal vote of thanks. The webinar was moderated by Dr. Yogesh Srivastav, Assistant Secretary General, PHDCCI and received participation of more than 100 delegates including senior government officials, travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, tour guides, airline professionals, travel associations and students from the travel and hospitality institutes. The webinar was also live on YouTube with a viewership of more than 500 delegates.
The next webinar with Focus State– West Bengal is scheduled for 26 November 2021 from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM and shall focus on Murshidabad district.
PHDCCI’s webinar was supported by Annual Sponsors such as, Multani Pharmaceuticals Limited; P G Industry; Uflex Ltd; DLF Limited; Continental Carriers Pvt Ltd; Belair Travel & Cargo Pvt Ltd; Radico Khaitan Limited, Paramount Communications; Superior Industries Limited; JK Tyre & Industries Ltd; Comtech Interio; R E Rogers; Apeejay Stya Group; EaseMyTrip; Blossom Kochhar Beauty Products Pvt Ltd; MV Cotspin Ltd; Synergy Environics Ltd; Ajit Industries Pvt Ltd; P S BEDI & Co.; Indian Farmer & Fertilizers Corporation Ltd; Jindal Steel; Hindware Sanitary; Modern Automobiles.
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