Tourism industry being the mainstay of the state’s economy has been asking for attention from everybody be it the government or the stakeholders involved with this industry.
No wonder then that the Chief Minister during a meeting few days back convened with the stakeholders here asked them to pool in resources to negate the false propaganda that is being promoted with intentions to dent the Industry.
Tourism Industry has been a major cause of concern from the past one and a half year as the Industry has lost its lustre owing to the continuous unrest in the Valley from the past more than a year now.
Even though this year expectations had been raised that tourist footfall will increase tremendously, however the recent killing of Hizbul commander Sabzar Ahmad has once again brought the Valley on the edge.
Booking in hotels and houseboats which was not beyond 15 to 20 per cent fell further during the past five days as the unrest and uncertainty in the Valley was badly promoted by a section of the media leading to a scare among the visiting tourists.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Kashmir valley are involved in tourist industry in one way or the other. Therefore, there is no doubt that tourism is potential source of generating economy in the State and especially in Kashmir valley.
Last year was very bad for Kashmir tourism when civil unrest prevailed for more than four months. It has chased away thousands of tourists from Kashmir during the peak time of tourism season. The tourist season has begun in Kashmir but the symptoms suggest that political situation is likely to flare up.
Undoubtedly, this situation is detrimental to the tourist footfall in the Valley. If going by the Industry estimates then last year tourism trade suffered a loss of more than 3000 crore rupees. This is not a small sum. Besides, what is of more significance is the loss suffered by small time traders, vendors and hawkers who make their living by the tourist’s arrival.
We understand the point of hoteliers and all those who are associated with tourist industry in the valley. However, the atmosphere prevailing in the Valley needs to be brought to a level where the tourist also feel safe to come here and enjoy the serenity of this place.
A person who comes out of the comfort and security of his home and visits Kashmir with his family needs to be reassured that his safety will be ensured at all costs during his stay in the Valley.
This reminds us of the tourist from Mumbai who suffered a fracture in his jaw while heading for Jammu. The tourists were stoned somewhere in South Kashmir leaving the teenager badly injured. Though, the tourist survived the attack but the incident created a scare which proves difficult to tackle.