Ganderbal: After the fear caused by a series of cloudbursts last month kept visitors away from Sonamarg, the tourist flow to the famed tourist destination in this central Kashmir district is back to normal.
Early last months, a cloudburst hit Sonamarg and several of its adjoining areas such as Kullan, Gagangeer, Bodpadan, and Nilgrar, triggering landslides which blocked the Srinagar-Leh highway at many places and disrupted the Amarnath Yatra.
The same week, another cloudburst hit Baltal, causing further damage to life and property.
Following the incidents, the tourists, according to the locals, preferred to stay away from the picturesque tourist destination. But now the visitors are returning, say the tourism players.
“Following the cloudbursts, which claimed at least one dozen lives, the tourist arrivals had ebbed considerably. However, in the last one week, the tourist resort has witnessed a modest increase in the tourist inflow,” Nazir Ahmad War, a hotel owner at Sonamarg, told Kashmir Reader.
With the increase in arrivals, the people associated with tourism are beginning to have a sigh of relief.
“A fear psychosis had gripped tourists. The decline in the tourist inflow caused us hefty losses, but the things are getting better now. I have been doing some good business for the last one week,” an embroidery shopkeeper at Sonamarg said.
The hoteliers and shopkeepers are hopeful that the tourist rush to Kashmir, and to Sonamarg, would further pick up in the coming days.
The government claims credit for improvement in the situation. An official of Tourism department told Kashmir Reader that the government collaborated with the tour and travel operators for organising programmes to attract tourists.
“It seems the efforts have borne fruit,” said a tourism official.