Bandipora: Despite erratic weather, tourists are thronging to the Gurez Valley of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, once a hotspot zone for border skirmishes which has now turned into a popular tourist destination.
The valley has been attracting tourists despite the unpredictable weather. Despite the snowfall, rains and frequent landslides that have disrupted travel, tourists are still flocking to the region.
“Despite the harsh weather, tourists are coming to Gurez Valley. They are undeterred by the challenges and are excited to experience the natural beauty of the region. We are receiving a steady stream of tourists, and we are optimistic about the future,” a local tourism official told a local news gathering agency.
Local hoteliers of Gurez said that the valley is witnessing a surge in tourist arrivals, and they are receiving advance bookings for the upcoming season. “We have already received bookings for the next three months, and we are expecting more tourists to arrive in the coming weeks,” said Manan, manager of a hotel in Gurez.
The government has also put in place several facilities to ensure a good tourism season this year. The local administration has set up a tourist information center, improved road connectivity, and provided better accommodation facilities.
“The government has been very supportive of the tourism industry in Gurez. They have provided us with better infrastructure, and we are seeing the results. Tourists are coming in large numbers, and we are optimistic about the future,” said Muhammad Hussain, another hotel owner.
The ceasefire pact between India and Pakistan has changed the dynamics of the once troubled region. The border residents, who were once living in fear, are now enjoying a peaceful life. The pact has not only brought peace to the area but also opened up new avenues for tourism.
“The ceasefire has brought a lot of changes in our lives. We are now living in peace, and we are happy to see tourists coming to our region. It has helped us in improving our livelihoods,” said Abdul Rahman, a local resident.
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Dr Owais Ahmed said that they have put in place several facilities to attract more tourists to Gurez Valley. “We have improved road connectivity and are also promoting homestay facilities to provide a more authentic experience to the tourists”, he said.
“To generate employment opportunities for the locals, we have pitched tent colonies in Gurez Valley. This initiative will not only provide employment opportunities but also add to the tourism infrastructure of the region,” he added.
Owais also said that they are working towards making Gurez Valley a sustainable tourism destination and are promoting eco-friendly practices, and have set up waste management facilities to keep the region clean and green. “We want to ensure that the tourists who visit Gurez Valley have a memorable experience and leave with a positive impression of the region,” the DC Bandipora said.
The success of Gurez Valley as a tourist destination is a testimony to the resilience and determination of the local people. Despite the challenges, they have managed to turn their region into a tourist hotspot, and they are looking forward to a bright future. (KNO)