CHANDIGARH: Presenting picturesque hilltop tourist location Patnitop as a round-the-year destination, the J&K tourism department has launched an aggressive marketing and promotional campaign to woo tourists from Punjab.
"Patnitop, located about 112 km from Jammu along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, is being promoted as an independent tourist circuit and the department is holding road shows in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar," Director Tourism, Jammu, R K Varma said here today.
While the Department held a road show here yesterday, another one in this series will be held in Ludhiana on June 19, in Jalandhar on June 20 and in Amritsar on June 27.
"We want more tourists to visit the Patnitop circuit this year, which we are promoting as round-the-year destination. The tourist influx which we used to receive from Punjab for this circuit has witnessed a marginal decrease and we want to woo them back," he said.
"We are showcasing the true potential of Jammu region in leisure, adventure and eco-tourism by making the general public and the travel trade fraternity of the neighbouring state aware about the natural beauty which lies in abundance here.
"From Patnitop, tourists can also visit Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra. The hoteliers association have announced to give heavy discounts to tourists when they produce bill of hotel stay at Patnitop for booking a hotel at Katra and vice versa," Varma said.
He said from Patnitop, located at an altitude of about 6,640 feet and famous for its lush green meadows and Deodar trees, one can also visit nearby places that include Sanasar, Mantalai, Sudhmahadev, and even Bhaderwah, also referred to as "mini Kashmir" for its scenic beauty, and Kishtwar.
"An International Yoga Centre is coming up at Mantalai," he said.
To improve the tourist flow into Jammu and Kashmir, the state government has declared 2015, as 'Visit Jammu and Kashmir Year'.
Domestic travellers are the backbone of the state's tourism and the tourism department aims to focus on strengthening this segment, Varma said.
Nearly 11 lakh travellers visited Jammu and Kashmir in 2014, of which only 50,000 were from foreign countries. Over four lakh tourists visited Patnitop last year.
The tourism Department is also in talks with Bollywood to promote the State as a whole as a destination for Indian films and television industry, he said.
Varma said that J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who also hold the Tourism portfolio, is also keen to promote Jammu as an independent tourist destination, going beyond the traditional famous destinations in Kashmir valley.
Apart from the Patnitop circuit, there are several recreational and historical places in Jammu region which can be showcased including Ranjit Sagar Dam in Lakhanpur-Sarthal, Surinsar and Mansar lakes in Udhampur and Samba, Sinthan Top, Warwan in Kishtwar, Shahdara Sharief in Rajouri, Budha Amarnath and the seven lakes in Poonch.
Meanwhile, as part of the road show here, an interactive session was held here last evening between the travel trade fraternity of Jammu and Chandigarh.