Tourists are slowly returning to Kashmir

Tourists rubbish negative propaganda of Kashmir on TV debates

Terrorism crisis and political tension in Kashmir has not reduced, but tourism is trying to gain a foothold once again.

Tourists are returning to Kashmir in 2021 after a long halt of lockout. This is a dramatic change for the region’s tourism industry, as it has witnessed a double whammy of the Corona virus epidemic and the restrictions imposed by the Center over the past year and a half.

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“Negative portrayal of Kashmir in television debates is regrettable. This place is really beautiful and I have never seen loving, caring and helpful people like Kashmiri’s in my entire life. News channels make Mountain out of a molehill but my journey to Kashmir was wonderful,” Ramya, a 22 years old female tourist from Bangalore said News agency KNO reported.

Ramya who stays in a houseboat at world famous Dal Lake said, she would again visit Kashmir and encourage others intending to visit the valley to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the paradise on earth.

“I did not witness anything wrong here, even if it is true, people of Kashmir I think will never let anyone down. Besides there is no major threat of Corona-Virus as this place is so clean, yes but we have to wear masks and maintain distance as a precautionary measure,” Ramya added.

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“I am really surprised and cannot describe in words how beautiful Kashmir is and how generous are the people. One who says the situation in Kashmir is not good has seriously gone mad as I didn’t felt anything bad on ground,” another tourist Vijay said adding those wishing to visit Kashmir should not fall prey to false reportage.

After the end of Kashmir’s autonomy and unprecedented security-related restrictions in 2019, Gulmarg was transformed into a ghost town. The communication system in Kashmir was also stalled under restrictions, but now the picture is slowly changing.

Severe financial crisis

Due to the restrictions, the lives of common people were disrupted, many jobs were lost and severe financial constraints were faced. Kashmir’s already weak health system also collapsed. Millions of students also suffered due to the closure of schools and colleges. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that by August 2020, the region had lost about $ 5.3 billion in economic losses and about half a million jobs had been lost.

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A good sign

For the first time in 15 months, all hotels are fully filled by the end of February. “We have 100 percent bookings in Gulmarg for January and February, which is a good sign. We hope that this trend will get better,” a tourism official said. Many tourists say that they have come to Gulmarg at this time because there are travel restrictions related to covid in places like Europe.

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  • Wahid Bhat

    Wahid Bhat is an environmental journalist with a passion for covering climate change and environmental issues. He holds a degree in English Journalism (EJ) from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and has received Media Fellow for NFI India (National Foundation for India) and Thomson Reuters Foundation. Wahid's reporting has been published in a range of respected outlets including Earth Journalism, Global Village Space, The Quint, Youth Ki Awaaz, and Devdiscourse

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