Srinagar: Asia’s largest Tulip garden on the foothills of Zabarwan hills in Srinagar was thrown open for public, marking the beginning of new tourism season in Kashmir region.
Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, declared the garden open in presence of senior officers from Floriculture department, Tourism department, J&K Bank and a large number of tourists, who had come from different parts of the country besides locals.
Chief Secretary, while speaking on the occasion, stated that the government is expecting arrival of heavy tourist influx this year as compared to last year. “The later part of 2021 had broken past records of tourist arrival to the region and we are optimistic of an incredible tourism boom this year also.
He said that the improved road and air connectivity in the UT will greatly enhance the influx of domestic and foreign tourists thus generating income for the local populace. He said that condition of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has improved a lot and it takes very less time to travel than earlier, besides air traffic has also improved significantly.
Chief Secretary said that tourism is reviving fast post COVID and the necessary steps are being taken up by the administration to make the stay of tourists more comfortable. He said that government under a comprehensive policy has explored and developed hidden and virgin tourist destinations and tourists will have more places to visit beyond Gulmarg, Pahalgam and other places. He said that the government has added 75 new virgin destinations, 75 new adventure treks, 75 heritage sites, and 75 religious sites.
Later, Chief Secretary also inaugurated J&K Bank enabled e-ticketing facility for the visitors becoming the first visitor to generate E-ticket. He said that queuing up for long time was cumbersome for the visitors, so E-ticketing was introduced to make the visit of tourists hassle free.
Commending J&K Bank for its people friendly initiatives, Dr A K Mehta said the Bank is doing yeoman services and I compliment the management for coming up with online portal well within timeline as expected.
The E-booking provision has been made available on the website of Floriculture Department from the day one to enable the tourists and visitors to plan their visit comfortably online.
Chief Secretary also directed the Floriculture department to take feedback from the tourists for making their stay more comfortable.
Dr Mehta appealed the people to visit Jammu and Kashmir and experience the serene splendor of tourist destinations like Tulip Garden.
Regarding tulip garden, it was informed that more than 1.5 million tulips in 60 varieties and colors will bloom this year. Besides, extra plants like daffodils, hyacinths, narcissus and other ornamental plants are being planted here to ornate the area making the tulip garden one of the main attractions for tourists from different parts of the country and world.
J&K Bank MD and CEO, Baldev Prakash, said the launch of this e-ticketing platform is very much in line with the government’s focus on public convenience and comfort of tourists. He added that for public convenience, we will integrate more such utility services into our digitalization drive to widen the ecosystem of online payments thereby increasing overall efficiency of the region’s financial system.
Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Dheeraj Gupta; Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Ranjan Prakash Thakur; Commissioner Secretary, Forests, Ecology and Environment, Sanjeev Verma; Commissioner Secretary, Floriculture, Parks and Gardens, Sheikh Fayaz; Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez; Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Commissioner SMC, Director Handicrafts and Handloom, Director Floriculture and other officers were also present on the occasion.