J&K govt gears up to expand tourism sector

Srinagar: Tourism is the major source of livelihood in Jammu and Kashmir. Millions of people are connected to this sector in one or the other way. The J&K government is giving full impetus to this sector to see the UT grow.

During the previous three decades of terrorism, this sector faced a major crisis. Hotels, houseboats, etc. remained vacant due to which the people associated with this sector suffered greatly.

After 2019, various measures have been taken by the Centre due to which the situation has improved. Strikes, stone pelting, grenades, etc. have almost ended. The result today is that domestic and foreign tourists are again flocking to Kashmir.

With the help of the L-G administration and the Central government, for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir, a record number of tourists have visited Kashmir. There are also hundreds of foreigners here. The benefits of the boom have benefited the ordinary man.

A record number of tourists arrived in Kashmir for the first time.

According to the available data, 22,59,569 tourists visited the Kashmir Valley from January 2022 to December 21, 2022. These include 22,40,616 domestic tourists and 18,953 foreign tourists.

Anantnag Deputy Commissioner’s office said in a tweet, “Kashmir is witnessing a golden age of tourism as per the official records of the Tourism Department.”

The number of tourists visiting is 22,59,569. The data shows that 62,645 tourists, including 260 foreigners visited the valley in January, followed by 100,509, including 230 foreigners in February, 180,171 in March (520 foreigners).

272377 (703 foreign tourists) in April, 3752 foreign tourists visited the valley in April, 333,589 tourists (1069 foreign tourists) in May, 207376 (2854 foreign tourists) in June.

154,919 (3140 foreign tourists) in July, 125,252 (2850 foreign tourists) in September, 183,680 foreign tourists in September, 158,778 (1642 foreign tourists) in October and 105,724 tourists, including 1380 foreigners this year visited the Kashmir Valley till December.

The highest number of 3140 foreigners visited Kashmir in August this year. Out of over 22 lakh tourists, about 19000 foreign tourists visited the valley this year.

Tourism Director Fazal Al-Huseeb said that hotels were fully booked by tourists at tourist spots including Gulmarg to celebrate the New Year. “We expect record tourist arrivals in 2023,” he said.

Measures to attract tourists

The Jammu and Kashmir government has taken massive measures to attract domestic and foreign tourists to the UT so that more can come to Jammu and Kashmir.

Steps have been taken to organise awareness programmes in different regions of the country due to which the people have been exposed to the peaceful environment and the beauty of this place.

Awareness programmes have yielded better results and a large number of tourists have come to Jammu and Kashmir. A large number of programmes are being held to highlight our specific features like the saffron, handicrafts, etc.

Increase in employment due to the promotion of tourism

While the people of the country and abroad enjoy the beauty of Jammu and Kashmir and remove the fatigue of the heart and mind, on the other hand, due to better tourism, employment opportunities increase. Due to the better tourist season, a common man in Jammu and Kashmir including, the horse-breeder, auto drivers, shopkeepers, traders, dry fruit carters, or hoteliers, air service companies have benefited in a better way and employment opportunities have been created.

Existence of new tourist spots

On one hand, steps have been taken by the government to provide better facilities to the old tourist spots, the Jammu and Kashmir L-G administration has for the first time introduced about 100 very beautiful places which were overlooked by the previous governments. These places have been brought on the tourist map.

Bringing these places on the tourist map will generate employment for the locals of about the hundred new places. During the last several years in the Kashmir valley, the youth have started to study hotel management and tourism subjects other than the traditional education.

First time visitors have alot of tourist spots to visit along with the Gulmarg, Pahalgam, etc.

Winter Tourism and Jammu and Kashmir

Every season of Jammu and Kashmir has the ability to attract people. Earlier, there were few tourists during the cold months. The tourist places here would present a deserted scene, rooms would be empty, as no special initiative was taken by any of the previous governments. The tourism here was only tourism for a few months of the year.

But this has changed. The government has organised various events regarding winter tourism and the result is that most of the hotels were booked on the occasion of New Year. The winter months are also proving to be attractive for the tourists.

The Department of Tourism hopes that 2023 will break the record of 2022.

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