Buoyed by increasing number of tourist footfalls in Kashmir with each passing year, the government has decided to bring meadows, camping sites and trekking routes of Central Kashmir's Yusmarg on the tourist map.
The government, in an attempt to push Yusmarg in the itinerary of visitors, is holding a three-day tourism festival in last week of September. Well-known tour and travel operating groups from across the country will be invited for the festival.
Yusmarg is 55 km from Srinagar and has remained underdeveloped due to poor tourism activity in the past two decades due to unrest and violence.
"The festival is to acquaint tour operators about the vast tourism potential of Yusmarg especially its unique adventure tourism potential," said a senior tourism official.
Minister for tourism and culture Nawang Rigzin Jora on Monday gave a final shape to the festival at fourth board meeting of the Yusmarg Development Authority (YDA) held at Civil Secretariat in Srinagar.
"Union ministry for tourism has sanctioned Rs 4 crore for the construction of recreation and sports centre at Yusmarg. The area is being developed as a unique adventure tourist destination where activities like zorbing, mountain biking, bungee jumping and trampoline have already been started," said Yousmarg Development Authority's chief executive officer Ghalib Mohiuddin.
The Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Pahalgam, has also been approached to hold training camps at Yusmarg regularly to train the local youth and school children in different adventure tourism activities.
The government has given its nod to proposals of constructing trekking routes and wayside facilities as a part of development of Doodhganga, Drugdolen, Burga and Kalnag areas.
The tourism minister has underlined the need for the development of basic infrastructure, including construction of hotels, as per the guidelines of the master plan, for visiting tourists.
Jora has stressed the need to develop camping sites in Yusmarg for the facility of tourists. "The main Yusmarg bowl should be preserved as green belt," he said.
State finance minister Rahim Rather also has called for developing a comprehensive tourist circuit between Chrar-i-Sharief-Yusmarg and Pakherpora.
The move to augment tourist infrastructure and identify new places in Kashmir has come in the wake of record number of tourists, which is more than 12 lakh, this year.