SRINAGAR: After three decades, Kashmir is attracting lakhs of tourists which Tourism players say is the return of golden era of Kashmir tourism.
The record number of tourists who visited Jammu and Kashmir this year, testify the overall development and change that has taken place in the Union territory.
Tourism is the biggest source of employment in Jammu and Kashmir and since January, 2022 till date, 1.62 crore tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir, which is the highest 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 last 70 years, people were demanding international flights from Jammu and Kashmir. Fulfilling this popular demand, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi started direct flight from Srinagar to Sharjah. Earlier, there was also no flight during the night from Srinagar and Jammu and the Prime Minister also started night flights from the both cities.
Recently, a comprehensive Film Policy was launched to attract film-makers for shooting after decades and within a year of notification of this policy, as many as 140 shooting permissions for films and web-series have been issued. Soon, a film studio will be launched with state-of-art facilities. This, besides providing new opportunities to the young talent of Jammu and Kashmir, shall boost the business ecosystem of the Union territory.
Various other models and schemes are also being launched to promote tourism here. Rural tourism is steadily occupying a space hitherto denied to it either due to not venturing into this area of tourism of vast potential or even if such an idea having been conceived, lack of resources has kept the roadmap for it in virtual doldrums. 75 offbeat tourist destinations are also being developed in Jammu and Kashmir as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.
A record-breaking 20.5 lakh tourists, including 3.65 lakh Amarnath yatris, visited Kashmir in the first eight months of this year, drawing visitors from all over the nation to the gorgeous and picturesque Valley.
The 2 million tourists represent an all-time high tourist footfall for Kashmir valley. The tourist sites like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, and Sonamarg as well as all hotels and guesthouses in Srinagar experienced 100 percent occupancy.
Tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir is being developed as per the vision of sustainable development goals. Besides, dedicated focus is also being given to strengthening the hospitality segment and for establishing a robust tourism infrastructure system.
Government is working towards developing state-of-art resources through public and private investment. J&K Government has adopted a five-pronged approach for effective transformation of the tourism potential of J&K. A comprehensive mechanism is being laid down to provide the best facilities to corporate golfers, tourists and food connoisseurs.
Despite setbacks faced due to Covid pandemic, the UT administration has taken sufficient steps for the revival of tourism in J&K and for providing employment to individuals associated with the sector.
Notably, a number of policy interventions have been made to provide financial support to various stakeholders associated with tourism sector.