Leh: The Commissioner/Secretary, Tourism & Culture Department, UT Ladakh Kacho Mehboob Ali Khan presided over a meeting to discuss cleanliness of high-altitude base camps and trekking routes, and the categorization of hotels/ guest houses/lodges/resorts in the UT of Ladakh at the Civil Secretariat.
Welcoming all the officials/stakeholders to the meeting the Commissioner/Secretary emphasized on the importance of cleanliness in high-altitude base camps and along trekking routes in the UT. During the meeting, he stressed on the urgent need to organize cleanliness drives in high-altitude base camps and along trekking routes.
He elaborated on this by outlining that immediately identification of legacy waste sites at high altitude base camps/along trekking routes in the UT is required and then organize cleanliness drives to cleanup such areas.
He directed the Director(Tourism) to immediately prepare a list of such locations in consultation with the stakeholders and share & discuss the same with the Rural Development Department & Police Department to organize joint cleanliness drives with the Tourism Department.
For sustained cleanliness the Commissioner/Secretary proposed to organise awareness campaign to educate both the local communities, tourism stakeholders, all executing agencies of projects, traders, transporters, contractors, and society at large about the significance of maintaining cleanliness in the entire UT of Ladakh.
The Commissioner/Secretary stressed on the importance of establishing proper waste management infrastructure in high-altitude base camps and along trekking routes. He recommended working closely with tour operators who organize treks in these regions to ensure compliance.
They could be encouraged to educate their clients about responsible trekking practices and ensure that their groups follow these guidelines, he stated.
Kacho Mehboob stressed on the importance of setting up a monitoring and reporting system to track the progress of cleanliness initiatives. Regular inspections and reports would help identify areas that need improvement and measure the impact of these efforts. He also recommended promoting the use of eco-friendly and biodegradable products among trekkers and visitors to reduce adverse environmental impact.
Regarding categorization of hotels/guest houses/lodges/resorts/camps for the purpose of registration and operation in the UT of Ladakh, he emphasized on the need for a comprehensive and practical categorization system for hotels/guest houses/lodges/resorts/camps to ensure clarity and transparency in the hospitality industry.
He proposed a detailed classification framework that would ensure maintain high standard of service across various types of accommodations and help travelers make informed decisions.
It was also expressed that the aim of updating the categorization system is to enhance the overall guest experience, promote healthy competition among hotels/guest houses/lodges/resorts/camps, and establish benchmarks in the hospitality sector so as to meet the expectations of travelers, which will contribute in the growth and professionalism of the hospitality industry. The stakeholders of Ladakh will give their suggestions within 10 days in this regard.
The meeting was attended by the Director, Tourism Department, Ladakh; Under Secretary/ OSD to the Commissioner/Secretary; officials from Tourism Department, Leh; Team Leader, PMU Tourism Department, Ladakh; representatives of All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA) and Ladakh Mountain Guides Association (LMGA). Assistant Director, Tourism Department, Kargil & representative of All Kargil Travel Trade Association (AKTTA), Kargil joined the meeting virtually.