Kashmir with its picturesque views & pristine surroundings is rightly known as the ‘Heaven on Earth’. Situated in the heart of Himalayas, Kashmir is blessed with its rich flora and fauna, wildlife sanctuaries, snow clad mountains, cultural heritage & world famous pilgrimage destinations.
With its breath taking views, Kashmir has become a favourite tourist destination attracting visitors not just from India but also from all over the world.
Tourism Industry in the state as a whole has grown significantly, hence resulted in upliftment of local service industry. These include hospitality, retail outlets & other small scale sectors.
Tourism accounted for 7% of state’s GDP according to govt figures. It thus possesses immense potential of enhancing the infrastructural development & generation of employment opportunities. Various locals are directly or indirectly associated with tourism. It provides employment opportunities to even people who lack specialized skills like guides, porters, etc. There are different types of tourism like eco-tourism, pilgrimage tourism, adventure tourism & medical tourism. So the scope of tourism industry is very large.
Tourism is not only providing economic benefits but it is also placing Kashmir on the national as well as international map. Some of the famous tourist destinations in the Kashmir includes Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam, Srinagar, Amarnath Cave. Many unknown places are now being developed as a tourist destination by showcasing its natural beauty through conduct of various events by Army in collaboration of civ adm and government departments.
The factors which led to increase in number of tourists in the Valley is the improving security situation & proactiveness of the govt towards developing infrastructure. In last couple of years, security situation has improved a lot.
People of valley have realised that peace is the only way forward. Govt has taken steps in promoting tourism in the Valley by building infrastructure, highlighting the beauty of Kashmir through advertisements.
Authorities have put in tremendous efforts in tackling of COVID-19. Max population above 18 years is vaccinated. Ganderbal district has become 100% vaccinated district.
The main beneficiaries of inflow of tourists are the locals. The livelihood of people depend on the cash flow generated by the tourists. Also 7-15% share of the GDP of the union territory is from tourism industry. With the continuous improvement of security situation in Valley & good connectivity of Srinagar airport with other airports of the country, it is estimated that footfall of tourists will only increase in the coming years.
Courtesy : Ali Fayyaz