SRINAGAR, JUNE 23: In a unique and innovative way, the Tourism Department organised a Capacity Building Programme for various stakeholders associated with the Tourism sector on the implementation of COVID-19 appropriate protocols while conducting their businesses in the post pandemic environment.
The inaugural programme was presided over by Secretary Tourism Department, Sarmad Hafeez while as Director Tourism Kashmir, GN Itoo, other senior officers and officials of the department besides various tourism stakeholders (Shikarawallas, Houseboat owners, floating market traders of Dal Lake etc.) were present during the programme.
In his remarks on the occasion, Sarmad Hafeez said that the programme has been organised with an aim to make aware different tourism stakeholders about the COVID-19 protocols while carrying out their business activities. He said that through this Capacity Building Programme, training will be provided to all the stakeholders associated with the tourism sector so that the tourists visiting Kashmir during this season can feel safe while visiting here. “All the stakeholders having interface with the tourists will be trained through this Capacity Building Programme on Covid-19 protocols and SOPs”, Sarmad Hafeez said.
Highlighting the need for such a programme, the Secretary said the declining number of Covid-19 cases, coverage of more than 80% of stakeholders during the vaccination drives has given the Department confidence to train and educate the tourism stakeholders about the post COVID-19 situation and ready them for the same. He said the Department is providing constant hand holding to these stakeholders in these tough times. He added that apart from this programme, a vaccination drive was organised for all those who are either directly or indirectly involved with this sector so that as more people start to visit the Kashmir valley, they may not be at risk or feel unsafe”.
On the future initiatives of the Department, Sarmad Hafeez also said that such kind of programmes will be held at all tourist destinations like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg and other places in coming days so that the players involved with Tourism trade like Hoteliers, Ponywallas and other concerned are made aware about the COVID protocols and SOPs to be observed while handling tourists in the coming seasons.
The Secretary on the occasion complimented the Department for organising this programme in such a unique and innovative way in the middle of Dal Lake with a good participation of Houseboat owners, Shikarawalals, Floating market traders and others associated segments of tourism sector.
As a special feature of the programme, several local artists performed skits, local folklores and traditional songs as well as the culturally significant Ladi Shah highlighting the importance of following Covid protocols while dealing with day to day business activities.
Shikaras were lined up in a circular ring and in the middle artists enthralled the audiences with COVID-19 relevant messages and precautions to be observed.