Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable Tourism

Kashmir attracts tourists from all over on account of its pristine and natural beauty that is resplendent here. Given what may be called the centrality of tourism to Kashmir, it has over time become a sector in its own right, with the livelihood of thousands of people contingent on its ebb and flow. Essentially, Kashmir is a brand , which on account of brand association , gives succor to other sectors or even industries like handicrafts. Tourism then is a critical prop of the Kashmir economy. But, there is a price to pay for tourist activity in Kashmir. The price pertains to Kashmir’s ecology which has become fragile over the years and the kind of tourism that Kashmir attracts since a while- the mass variety- threatens the valley’s fragile ecosystem. A central conclusion and recommendation of the new draft Master plan, this is as alarming as can be. Mass tourism, besides obvious issues with it, coupled with creaky and poor infrastructure in Kashmir can put stresses and strains on the ecosystem of Kashmir. This would have allied costs and impinge negatively on Kashmir. The draft Master plan’s warning comes at an apt time and should be heeded to. The question is how? While no easy answers lend themselves here, but one plausible solution would be focusing on and developing high end tourism in Kashmir. This is not as difficult or improbable as it sounds. But, it surely, is a challenge. In a globalized day and age, where potential tourists have a menu of options to choose from across the world, brand Kashmir needs to be further worked over and allied to world class infrastructure. The whole tourist potential and map of the valley needs to be revamped and rendered in accord with the demands of high end tourism. Moreover, Kashmir is not just Pahalgam and Gulmarg; there is virgin territory in Kashmir that is yet to be explored and developed for niche or high end tourism. A focus on these uncharted places and developing Kashmir’s tourist potential would entail developing a more sophisticated Unique Selling Point(USP) that draws more of global tourism’s market share to Kashmir. The preceding analysis leaves out the conflict dimensions and the uncertainties thereof that can potentially impinge on tourism here. But, the conflict has to be viewed as a constant wherein the factors identified here as those variables that are subject to control. Kashmir’s ecology needs not only be preserved but also enhanced. A sustainable tourism strategy is one important factor and component of this preservation approach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.