Srinagar,: Jammu and Kashmir has recorded a tourist footfall of 1.62 crore for the first time in the history of 75 years of independent India.
This enhanced tourism in the Union Territory has generated the greatest employment in various regions, thus highlighting its overall development through a constructive approach, transformative initiatives and inevitable reforms to empower J-K for its people, culture and society.
Ever since the abrogation of Article 370, ample changes have taken place in the region.
The tourism industry in the Union Territory has been allocated Rs 786 crore, which has witnessed remarkable achievements including a significant uptick in profit generation over the last few months.
This significant boost of 184 per cent (as compared to the last year’s allocated fund) has a lot to do with the betterment of infrastructural facilities in the region.
Despite the noise and attention that the region has attracted over the last few decades, basic infrastructural support and connectivity measures were never prioritised. In the last few years, rapid strides have been made in the arena of infrastructure and social development of the region and its people.
With the construction of the new Chenab bridge which was completed at the cost of Rs 1,327 crores under the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project, a corridor transit in and around the Kashmir Valley has also been planned to be completed within a limited time frame of the next four years.
The Government of India is also making a significant thrust to ensure better infrastructural facilities for the region’s people and entice visitors. This has resulted in a fortuitous surge in tourist activities with better law and order, promising security system, and maintenance of peace in addition to infrastructural and connectivity improvements.
A tourist destination that is now being promoted on all possible global forums, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have witnessed their highest-ever tourist footfall and air traffic in recent years.
The Kashmir Valley has been the destination which attracted most tourists.
To maximise tourism here, direct international flights have also been introduced apart from the leisure activities that form a core part of tourism, better security and resulting faith in the law and order mechanism of the region have ensured that religious tourism within the Union Territory have always taken place smoothly and with ease.
The sector of Tourism witnessed a significant boost in April 2022 with the highest-ever record of 102 to and fro flights as well as around 15,199 average daily passengers.
As a result, a new terminal of the Srinagar International Airport was granted approval to cater to the increased footfall and possible rush for the upcoming tourist season.
For ensuring a sustainable growth during months other than the tourist season, the government has also sought to establish a more balanced socio-economic development model that can seep through to the block level on a deeper level.
The idea behind the macro-economic plan is to create jobs to the tune of 5-6 lakhs and create a momentum that would help garner further capital investment in the areas of manufacturing and services.
On that front, two significant projects have been successfully managed so far– Tulip Garden of Kashmir– with an all-time greatest number of the arrival of visitors making it the highest-visited garden (during the short span of its opening week) in Asia.
Along with the same, the administration has also made changes to ensure that tourists visiting the Kashmir valley witness a mesmerising experience at the Manasbal Lake in Ganderbal with a festival that is geared at promoting local art, culture, cuisine and water sports.
With over 82 lakh tourists having visited the region between November 2021 to June 2022, it is clear that the transformative initiatives of the administration have pushed the sector to the brink of becoming self-sustaining or Atmanirbhar in a short span of time.
The Directorate of Information & Public Relations in its report earlier this month announced that about Jammu and Kashmir hosted around 1.62 crore tourists in the nine months since January 2022. This is the highest tourist footfall in a year since independence. Earlier, the region had an average footfall of about 10 lakh tourists which saw a huge boost in a short span in time, thereby generating substantial employment for the youth as well as local businesses.
These initiatives along with the general local-friendly approach undertaken till now have reaffirmed the faith of the locals in the administrative machinery of the state. A synergy-driven approach of the Government of India would ensure that there is peace, order and development for the region along with ensuring meaningful participation of the people. (Agencies)