Srinagar Nov 07: Around 19,000 tourists visited Kashmir valley this year, which otherwise witnesses a huge rush of tourists.
The less tourist inflow is because of COVID-19 lockdown.
Tourism is considered a backbone of Kashmir economy. However, like other sectors, tourism has been badly hit by two lockdowns first after August 5 last year then COVID-19.
As per details accessed by news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS), less than 19,000 tourists visited Kashmir till October this year.
However, the figures reveal that there has been an increase in the tourist flow in the last few months. In October, around 2700 visited the valley which indicates there was 100 percent increase in tourist inflow when comparing with previous months.
While 43000 tourists visited Kashmir between August and December last year.
After suffering badly following two lockdowns, first post abrogation of Article 370 and then COVID-19, tourism players are hopeful that tourism will further pick up in coming days.
An official of the Tourism Department said that tourist inflow is expected to increase in November.
“We suffered badly for the last few years. But it is a very positive sign that tourists are coming to the valley. There has been a good response from tourists of Westbengal, Mumbai, Gujarat, who have shown willingness to visit Kashmir and also go for trekking to see hidden tourist destinations,” he said.
Tourism is considered a backbone of Kashmir economy but it has been restricted to few destinations like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Mughal gardens, Tulip Garden and the Dal Lake while dozens of picturesque places have remained hidden destinations. However, it has been seen that tourists are exploring new tourist destinations and the government is making an effort to bring them on the tourism map for their promotion.
Bashir Ahmad, a hotelier said tourists are visiting Kashmir for the last few weeks and mostly visit Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Mughal Gardens and Dal Lake.
“They are also visiting Doodhpathri, Baisaran valley, and Sinthontop. Tourists have also started bookings for the winter months when Kashmir receives snowfall,” he said.
He said infrastructure has to be created at unexplored destinations without harming the environment. “The facilities have also to be improved at the existing tourist destinations,” he said.