Tourism picks up in Kashmir, raises hope among tourism players

Srinagar:  After suffering huge losses since August last year, a ray of hope has arisen among tourism players in Kashmir as tourism has started picking up in the valley.

Since August 5 last year when Narendra Modi-led government abrogated Article 370, tourism has been badly hit by the lockdown. Then COVID-19 lockdown further aggravated the problem.

Mohammad Ali, a resident of Mumbai, came along with his wife and two children to Kashmir last week. “We have been here for last one week and roamed around Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Mughal Gardens, Pari Mahal, Dal Lake. We did not face any problem here. We are again planning to visit either in December or January to see snow,” he told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

Prominent tour operator of Kashmir, Rouf Tramboo, said tourists have started coming to the valley.

“It is a very positive sign that tourists are coming to the valley. There has been a good response from tourists  who have shown willingness to visit Kashmir,” Tramboo said.
On Tuesday, Tramboo also see-off a group of tourists from Calcutta Westbengal for trekking to Kolahai in the valley.

“It was a pleasure to see off a group of trekkers from West Bengal who left for 9 days Sarbal – Kolahai – Tarsar trekking trip,” he said.

Tourism sector has been badly hit since August 5 last year due to restrictions imposed by the government after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 and then COVID-19 lockdown.

As per figures of tourism department, 43000 tourists visited Kashmir between August and December last year. While in 2020, only 19,000 tourists visited Kashmir till September this year.
Bashir Ahmad, a hotelier said tourists are visiting Kashmir for the last few weeks and mostly visit Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Mughal Gardens and Dal Lake.

“Tourists have also started bookings for the winter months when Kashmir receives snowfall,” he said.

Director Tourism, Kashmir, Nisar Wani also said there has been a positive response from tourists in the last few weeks.

“We are receiving positive feedback from different states and many people want to visit the valley especially during winters,” he added.
Meanwhile, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Baseer Ahmad Khan has said that government is committed to revive cultural activities in Jammu and Kashmir and every effort is being made in this regard.

He said that while we are opening up, after a long time in view of the pandemic, we need to roll out programmes on ground for reviving the cultural activities.  He directed the officers that cultural activities should not be restricted to Jammu and Srinagar cities but the activities should be rolled out in all the districts.

“We have reached a stage where we need to pick up and roll out activities with renewed energy and enthusiasm. The tourism and cultural departments complement and supplement each other and their coordination will go a long way in the promotion of cultural activities,” he said as per news agency KINS.  

The Advisor sought the calendar of activities that the cultural department has planned in the coming days and said that role of the cultural department in preserving and promoting the cultural activities is paramount. (KINS)