The disengagement of troops of the Indian Army and China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) from the LAC in the eastern Ladakh sector has raised hopes of tour operators waiting eagerly for the tourists to flock the cold desert region in the coming weeks.
On its part the Union Territory administration in Ladakh is also fully geared up for the long tourist season and focusing more and more on promoting adventure tourism.
On Sunday the Tourism department,Ladakh also launched the second edition of Ladakh Winter Conclave. The major attraction of the event was the heritage walk in Old Leh town.
“The heritage started from LAMO Centre and ended at the Leh main market. The guests also enjoyed traditional delicacies at the Central Asian Museum. There were also dance performances at Leh Palace”, spokesman of the UT administration said.
Earlier, three parallel sessions on different themes such as mountaineering & trekking, discovering Ladakh’s landscape, and rural tourism-homestay, were organised.
Representatives from All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA) spoke about realising the full potential of the scope of mountaineering and trekking in Ladakh. There were discussions on the potential of Ladakh becoming a hot-spot for adventure tourism, provided there are adequate infrastructure and policy on adventure tourism, training of mountain guides, the availability of equipment and ease of issuing permits for tourists interested in adventure tourism.
A case study on the Chadar trek was also presented during the presentation.
In the session on discovering Ladakh’s landscape, panellists Pranay Lal, Tara Sharma, Sonam Wangchuk and Munish Pandit, discussed the importance of Ladakh’s landscape and its relevance to the culture of the region.
Similarly, panellists Tsewang Namgyal, Manisha Pande, Kumar Anubhav, Gaurav Gaur and Sonam Parvez stressed the need to develop a resilient homestay or village tourism model in Ladakh during the session on rural tourism-homestays.
Post-lunch, there were three more parallel sessions. In the session on extreme sport, there was a discussion on promoting Ladakh as a destination for extreme sports such as rock climbing & bouldering, mountain biking, and ice climbing.
Similarly, panellists King Jigmed Namgyal. Darshan Dudhoria, Yutaka Hirako, Neeraj Bhagat, Shoba Mohan and Monisha Ahmed discussed the need to keep heritage alive through the restoration of old traditional homes and the economic viability of such projects.
Administrative Secretary, Ravinder Kumar stressed the need for a comprehensive policy for UT Ladakh. He also highlighted facilities provided by the Administration for tourists, such as choppers during rescue operations and 100 satellite phones in case of emergency.
Director, Tourism Department, Ladakh, Kunzes Angmo, informed that the Tourism Department is formulating a comprehensive tourism policy for Ladakh. She also highlighted the importance of working towards responsible and sustainable tourism.