After three decades, Kashmir is attracting thousands of tourists which, according to Tourism players, is the return of the golden age of Kashmir tourism.
The record number of tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir this year testifies to the general development and change that has taken place in the Union Territory.
Tourism is the largest source of employment in Jammu and Kashmir and from January 2022 to date, 1.62 crores of tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir, which is the highest figure in 75 years of independence.
Tourism has generated maximum employment in various regions of Jammu and Kashmir including Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu and the Kashmir Valley.
For the past 70 years, people have been demanding international flights from Jammu and Kashmir. Fulfilling this popular demand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started a direct flight from Srinagar to Sharjah. Previously, there were also no overnight flights from Srinagar and Jammu and the Prime Minister also started overnight flights from both cities.
A comprehensive Film Policy was recently released to entice filmmakers to film after decades and within a year of this policy being notified, as many as 140 filming permits for films and web series have been issued. Soon, a film studio with state-of-the-art facilities will be inaugurated. This, in addition to providing new opportunities for young talent from Jammu and Kashmir, will boost the business ecosystem of the Union Territory.
Various other models and schemes are also being launched to promote tourism here. Rural tourism is increasingly occupying a space that until now has been denied to it, either for not having ventured into this area of tourism with great potential, or for having raised such an idea, the lack of resources has kept its roadmap virtually stagnant . There are also 75 offbeat tourist destinations being developed in Jammu and Kashmir as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.
A record 20.5 lakh tourists, including 3.65 lakh from Amarnath yatris, visited Kashmir in the first eight months of this year, attracting visitors from all over the country to the beautiful and picturesque Valley.
The 2 million tourists represent an all-time high tourist pass for the Kashmir Valley. Tourist sites like Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg as well as all hotels and guesthouses in Srinagar experienced 100 percent occupancy.
The tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir is developing as per the vision of sustainable development goals. In addition, special attention is also being paid to strengthening the hotel segment and establishing a solid tourism infrastructure system.
The government is working to develop state-of-the-art resources through public and private investment. The J&K government has adopted a five-pronged approach for the effective transformation of J&K’s tourism potential. A comprehensive mechanism is being established to provide the best facilities for corporate golfers, tourists and foodies.
Despite the setbacks faced due to the Covid pandemic, the UT administration has taken sufficient measures for the revival of tourism in J&K and to provide employment to people associated with the sector.
In particular, a number of political interventions have been made to provide financial support to various actors associated with the tourism sector.