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Introduction to the Report “Building Sustainable Tourism in Azad Jammu & Kashmir” by Dr. Shaheen Akhtar

This study is a pioneer work which offers insightful analysis of the diverse and multi-faceted yet largely under-developed Tourism industry in AJ&K. Starting with mapping of the rich cultural, religious, archeological and recreational potential of the State; the report examines the development and performance of the tourism sector in the region over the years.

It assists the readers in developing an understanding of AJ&K’s first-ever Tourism Policy Framework launched in 2019, highlighting its important aspects like standardization and regulations of tourism, public-private partnership, branding and diversification of tourist destinations, identification and preservation of heritage sites, Tourism Police and Tourism Regulatory Body. The ideas for destination development and the prospects of the proposed 190 km-long Tourism Corridor in AJK which will connect tourist sites in four districts including Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Bagh and Rawalakot, have also been discussed in the report.

The report also identifies some key challenges impeding the development of the tourism industry in AJ&K which primarily include the impacts of the tension on the LoC, the threatening situation created by the Corona pandemic as well as the resource constraints of the region. The main significance of the report lies in the fact that it concludes with some very important and insightful recommendations proposed by the author for the development of the tourism sector in AJ&K which if taken seriously and acted upon properly can prove to be highly beneficial for the progress of the region.

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