Tourism, which contributes about 7% of the GDP of Jammu and Kashmir, needs continuous focus, notwithstanding some arrivals recently. While the full potential of tourism has never been utilized, the sector has suffered a lot following 5 August 2019 decisions to read down Article 370 by centre and subsequent covid-19 curbs.
However, lately the domestic tourism in the country including the J&K is showing signs of recovery.
Tourism sector is a major engine of economic growth of Jammu & Kashmir. J&K, in particular, has historically been an attraction for anyone who wants to relax, and enjoy. In the 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.
The administration has now been doing its best to push tourism recovery. In J&K budget 2021-2022, Rs 1,000 crore has been earmarked for development of tourism infrastructure.
On Friday, Lieutenant Governor launched J&K Tourist Village Network under Mission Youth, the initiative which is said to be aimed at transforming 75 villages of the J&K known for historical, picturesque beauty, and cultural significance into tourist villages.
It seems in right earnest to have youth-led sustainable tourism initiative and it ought to be worked out properly to strengthen the rural economy.
The government has said it was adopting best practices in recognizing the uniqueness of each village and showcasing the landscapes, indigenous knowledge systems, cultural diversity and heritage besides encouraging film shooting and offering financial incentives as well as ensuring a digital platform to all these villages. Such endeavor is welcome.
Also, the Minister of Tourism said that based on inputs from the Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Missions and Posts abroad regularly keeps foreign interlocutors briefed about political, social and developmental endeavours in Jammu & Kashmir, and its positive impact on the people, economy and tourism. Tourism promotion, including Jammu & Kashmir is part of activities carried out by Missions/Posts, the government said. One expects better results once the restrictions on movement due to covid are lifted.