Opening of the second edition of Ladakh Winter Conclave organised by the tourism department, UT Ladakh, got off to a colourful start in Leh on Sunday. The heritage walk in Leh old town was the major attraction on the first day other than the parallel sessions at three different venues.

With the objective to promote and expand the tourist season beyond seven months, the tourism department organised the heritage walk in Leh old town steeped in history.

The heritage started from LAMO Centre and ended at the Leh main market. The guests enjoyed traditional delicacies at the Central Asian Museum. There were also dance performances at Leh Palace.

Earlier, three parallel sessions on different themes such as mountaineering & trekking, discovering Ladakh’s landscape, and rural tourism-homestay, took place in the morning. 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 hotspot 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.

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 tourismhomestays.

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.

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.

In the last session on tourism revival post-Covid, stakeholders from the tourism sector discussed the effect of Covid-19 on tourism industry and the mode and models that could lead to its revival. Meanwhile, administrative secretary Ravinder Kumar stressed the need for a comprehensive policy for UT Ladakh.