In spite of COVID fright, Kashmir witnessing huge tourist rush

 Wednesday, December 22, 2021 


With a new mutant virus, Covid-19 is terrorizing a comeback. However, for travel enthusiasts, that’s not causing any restraint to flocking to Kashmir, India’s most famous hotspot when it comes to exotic travel.

At Gulmarg’s Gondola, the well-known serpentine lines have started getting visible once again. In the valley, crowds of tourists visiting the snow-covered mountains and full-occupancy of hotels are evidence showing that Kashmir is again getting back to its normal situation as the most sought-after tourist destination in India.

In November 2021, as per the officials, valley witnessed the highest arrival in the numbers of monthly domestic tourists in the last seven years.

To quote Dr GN Itoo, the director of tourism Kashmir, “The number is expected to surge in December and January as Kashmir is becoming the ‘go-to destination’ for many travellers,” said Dr Itoo.

After experiencing a quiet period in the last two years, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the numbers rising to major heights. Roughly, 513,000 tourists, between January 1 and November 30, 2021, as per the tourism department, including 1,317 foreigners, visited the destination. Dr Itoo explained that August, September and October also brought quite high number of tourists. It’s a clear indication of the fact that the tourism sector of Kashmir is bouncing back, after it took a toll in 2020 and early 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Until November 8th, a total of 405,000 tourists arrived in J&K, as the numbers in 2020 same period stood at 23,248.

He made three factors responsible. “With the pandemic shutting borders and making international travel difficult, many holidaymakers turned to domestic tourism. After the abrogation of Article 370, there is an increased notion of safety and normalcy in Kashmir. Also, the way Jammu and Kashmir handled Covid-19 also boosted the confidence of tourists,” said Dr Itoo.

Dr. Itoo also stated that the efforts of government to vaccinate tourism employees and treating them as frontline workers also paid off. It helped to boost the confidence of tourists.

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