For the last two years, Kashmir is looking forward to tourists. After the 14 February 2019 bombing along the Jammu-Srinagar highway near LethporaPulwama in February 2019, tourism has been in a freefall.
On 3 August 2019, the local government ordered all tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to leave. It pressed official fleet to Srinagar airport and bus terminals to facilitate their exit from J&K. Before August 5, when the centre effectively annulled the special status of Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian constitution, and put the entire J&K under security and communication clampdown that saw even landline telephony snapped, the tourists and the pilgrims had emptied the Valley as also Jammu region.
Chances of any revival of the tourism industry were inflicted a crippling blow by the covid-19.
From an income of Rs 6.69 crore from tourism in 2018, revenue plummeted to just around Rs 45 lakh in the past two years, as per a report.
However, as they said, even a single good event can make a big difference and it can help to bring Kashmir back on the tourist map as the best destination. Earlier this month, Bollywood producers on a FAM trip to Kashmir spent quite some time and held interactions with players for the local travel and hospitality sector, line producers and artists. They, as per the official statement, assured to “utilise their services in their future films to be shot in Kashmir.”
The visit of bollywood members sends a message across the India about the beauty of the land and hospitality of its people. Organisers promoting the events like this can be powerful. In tough times such as the contemporary one, they could be ambassadors for the tourism industry, more particularly the winter tourism. Such events could also be a remedy to some toxic propaganda campaign launched in the past by some television channels and media houses against J&K.
Kashmir has historically been an attraction for anyone who wants to relax, and enjoy. In past, the stakeholders have not been able to promote the Kashmir Valley, its unique weather, mountain peaks, water bodies, vast fields and orchids, archeological sites, and cultural signposts. However, to at least see tourism back on rails in Jammu and Kashmir, both the local and central governments need to work in tandem and promote this part of the globe, known to be a paradise on the earth, as an all-season destination locally and internationally.