Tourists have come in big numbers. In fact record numbers have been witnessed. There has been an early snowfall in Kashmir this season and one of the places frequented by the sightseers throughout the calendar year, the Gulmarg, too is draped in white.
Both the government as well as the locals associated with the travel trade are expecting better business this winter as early snowfall has generated good “word of mouth” publicity for Kashmir as a destination.
In fact, several tourists who had come to witness the magic of crimson Chinar leaves falling in autumn here were in for a pleasant surprise as they could catch the white Gulmarg due to early snowfall earlier this month.
In the recent past, the government has made tremendous focus towards the tourism sector. Recently it came up with a Vision Document which outlines a comprehensive plan to develop new types of tourism experiences including adventure tourism, heritage tourism, and cultural tourism.
Over the last several months, the Government has also been in the process of identifying new tourist destinations to accommodate more tourists and offer them more places to visit.
The administration has now been doing its best to push tourism recovery. In J&K budget, a considerable amount has been kept for the development of tourism infrastructure.
The plan needed to be formulated at an earliest and stakeholders should be involved in preparations for a better outcome. There is also a need to develop various tourist circuits while putting special focus on winter tourism, adventure tourism, trekking activities, pilgrimage sites, water sports and other popular ventures.
The recovery in the tourism sector is nascent. Low wage workers like ponywallas, tourist guides, cab drivers, hotel staff and boatmen etc need continuous support.
The winter and the snow at tourist resorts have generated renewed hope. Tourism has picked up and it will help in part amid continuing ban on international travel. Snowfalls that would soon become the order of the day will give further fillip to the arrivals. One benefit of a snow-bound winter has been that there is a sudden bump in the arrival of tourists and efforts should be made to keep flow flowing. Snow is a novelty for many and efforts should be made to attract more and more such people. Efforts should be made to ensure winter tourism along with other new areas on the tourism map is explored to considerable levels.