The tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir has got a boost after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35(A) on August 05, 2019.
The Union Territory witnesses an upsurge in tourists’ inflow due to the development of infrastructure, improvement in connectivity and better law and order. This year, the tourism sector in J-K also got a major boost as the government made a record budgetary allocation of Rs. 786 crores, an increase of 184 per cent over the allocation for the previous year.
Tourists not only preferred to visit the Kashmir valley for leisure but the majority of them visited the UT for religious and adventure activities.
In April this year, the Srinagar International airport recorded the highest ever 102 to and fro daily flights as well as the highest footfall of 15,199 daily passengers. Seeing the year’s footfall, the government is planning to build another terminal at Srinagar International Airport to cater to the increased rush in the future.
Kashmir’s iconic Tulip Garden, one of the biggest in Asia which was opened on March 13 witnessed an all-time high number of arrival of visitors, locals as well as domestic tourists, this year since its establishment in 2007.
Thrilled by the inflow of tourists, various adventure activities have picked up in the valley resulting in creating more jobs and business opportunities for the locals.
Recently, the thrilling and adventurous Jet Ski rides attracted tourists at world famous Dal Lake.
Jehangir, a jet rider said, this is adventurous and tourists enjoy it. We started this two years ago as the number of tourists has increased. This year the tourist flow is tremendous”.
A tourist said, “Kashmir is really a paradise and we are very lucky to visit here and enjoy the mesmerising beauty of the valley including this thrilling Jet Ski riding. So people don’t need to go to Switzerland or any other place in Europe,”.
The UT administration has also taken several measures to attract tourists and get a mesmerising experience of visiting the Kashmir valley.
At Ganderbal’s Manasbal lake, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department organised a festival to promote local art and culture, food and water sports activities.
Dr. G N Itoo, director, of tourism in Kashmir, said, “Manasbal being an offbeat destination we have organised a day-long festival in which water sports and other activities were organized to attract more and more tourists”.
There are several unexplored destinations in Jammu and Kashmir which remained unreachable for tourists in the past. As the law & order situation is improving drastically in J-K since 2019, more tourists are heading to explore the beautiful Kashmir valley.
Tourists can discover places like Watlab in Baramulla or can enjoy Golf at Pahalgam.
The UT’s tourism department even promotes rural tourism with an aim to show Kashmir’s village life to tourists.
Recently, J&K Tourism tweeted, “Sagg eco-village in Ganderbal integrates rural life, heritage & culture creating a platform for sustainable economic models to benefit the local community. It facilitates interaction between the tourists and the locals for a more enriching tourism experience”.
Over 79 lakh tourists visited J&K between October 2021 to March 2022, which indicates that the prevailing situation is favourable to the growth of the tourism sector in the Union Territory.