SRINAGAR — In order to facilitate more and more people to join the tourism trade, the Government has notified procedural guidelines for the registration of homestays and paying guest houses in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Orders to this effect were issued by Secretary, Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez here.
The aim of notifying these guidelines is to create a hassle-free environment for those wishing to register their properties as homestays/paying guest houses by simplifying many of the procedural requirements and minimising the formalities.
An added benefit of introducing the concept of homestays is to promote local culture, cuisine, handicrafts etc. thereby enhancing the employment opportunities for local inhabitants. Homestays/paying guest houses would also be encouraged at the 75 new tourist destinations recently put on the tourist map by the Department. This is expected to increase the tourist footfall by a considerable measure.
It may be recalled that the Department of Tourism in recent times has taken several path-breaking steps to upgrade tourism services, extend the touring seasons, adding more destinations to the tourist map, making J&K a round-the-year destination, golf promotion, a rigorous promotional campaign, thrust on the adventure and heritage tourism, to name a few.
As a sequel of these efforts, J&K has witnessed a huge tourist footfall over the past one and a half years and many experts say the tourist footfall of the past six months has been the highest in the last 15 years.