The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is known worldwide for tourism and the tourism sector is one of the major contributors to J&K’s GDP.
The tourism industry brings in huge foreign exchange and provides jobs for thousands of unemployed young people. In order to enhance and harness the potential of the tourism sector here, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has launched the Tourist Village Network program under Mission Youth to ensure balanced and equitable development of the tourism sector throughout the length and UT width. The government launched this program to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Under this initiative, the government aims to rejuvenate and transform more than 75 villages in the union territory by promoting tourism and providing sustainable jobs for young people. The initiative launched within the framework of the youth mission will aim to give a facelift to the 75 villages already famous for their historical past, their picturesque landscape and their cultural importance.
This initiative is intended to promote homestays across UT. The initiative will strengthen the region’s rural economy, transform young people into entrepreneurs and empower women by providing many job opportunities. Noting this unique initiative, the J&K Lt. Governor said the administration will recognize the uniqueness of each village and enhance the landscape, foster the indigenous knowledge system, and promote the cultural diversity and heritage of these villages.
More importantly, this initiative was also started with the potential of J&K in mind for filming purposes. The initiative also aims to promote the shooting of films and to offer financial assistance to the villages for their sustainable development. All villages that are part of the initiative will also receive a digital footprint. This initiative also aims to provide maximum employment opportunities to young people from different backgrounds and to ensure their participation in policies that have an impact on their lives.
This Tourist Village Network initiative has the potential and propensity to mobilize the diverse geographic and socio-economic landscape of the union territory. These are several regions of the territory of the Union which, despite their greater tourist potential, have not been able to attract the required attention due to infrastructural bottlenecks. Destinations that lag behind in tourism infrastructure can overcome the disadvantages by introducing homestays as a means of accommodation for tourists that does not require heavy investment.
Against this backdrop, the government has started the movement to promote homestay tourism in UT by launching Panchari, a mesmerizingly beautiful village in Udhampur district as the first homestay tourist village. inhabitant.
This new initiative will surely be the harbinger of change, especially for regions that have remained underdeveloped and neglected. The program has the potential to improve the economic status of underdeveloped regions of the territory of the Union. This initiative will surely increase the standard of living of the inhabitants of the region and will expose the inhabitants of the region to tourists from all over the world and make them more productive, agile, versatile and resourceful.
The program will also lead to cultural enrichment, as people from different socio-cultural and socio-economic backgrounds as well as people from all over the world are meant to meet in a homestay-like atmosphere, thus leading to a long-lasting cultural exchange. term. This will contribute to the exchange of sophisticated best practices in and around the world in the tourism sector and related activities. It will also help explore new markets for the UT crafts and handlooms it is known for around the world.
This initiative especially has the potential to uplift and empower rural women. This program will ensure the participation of women in economic activities and decision-making at the local level and will serve the objective of eliminating gender discrimination and prejudice, making society more equitable and progressive.
As the concept of homestay is gaining momentum and momentum across the world, Indian states like Sikkim, Uttrakhand and Kerala are making huge strides in promoting and establishing homestay tourism. inhabitant as a source of economic development and empowerment of their population. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is also blessed with huge potential to become a leading homestay tourism destination. If taken seriously, the concept of tourist village network can be an icebreaker to harness the potential of destinations such as North Kashmir, Rajouri-Poonch belt, Basohli-Bani-Bhaderwah belt, the Basantgarh and Billawar belt, etc. which have remained intact to this day. If taken in the right perspective, this initiative will be a real game-changer for the rural economy of all of Jammu and Kashmir.