Kashmir tourism distraught following the pandemic

Published on : Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The world is now experiencing a new dawn that it never expected, and for which it was never prepared!


This microscopic virus has brought the world to its knees and has dented its age old established economic, social, political and cultural order. The loss of economy and business poses a significant threat to millions of people globally, and Kashmir is no exception either.


The heavenly and idyllic Valley of Kashmir, surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks witnesses more than a million tourists and pilgrims every year. Besides domestic tourists, foreign tourists from various countries visit Kashmir during summers as well as winters. The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department has revealed that after the spread of the virus, the flow of tourists not only slowed down but completely froze.


This sharp decline in Kashmir’s tourist arrival has devastated its tourism sector. The stakeholders in the tourism industry opine that they are ruined and all players involved are extremely concerned. All hoteliers, transporters, shikarawalas, shopkeepers, ponywalas, tourist guides, and all agents related to tourism are economically traumatized. They had thought about summer as a revival time for their businesses, compensating for the last years’ loss.


This year, key players connected with tourism in Kashmir pinned high hopes for a very profitable tourism business. The Shikarawalas, taxi owners, hoteliers, houseboat owners, ponywalas, fine art artisans like shawl weavers, papier-mâché artisans, and all others associated with tourism had prepared themselves for a new tourism season. But their expectations now stand devastated. Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonmarg, Kokarnag, Doodhpatheri, Dal Lake, Mansbal, Nigeen Lake, rivers, springs, gardens and parks are all quiet with the chirping of birds filling the entire space. All tourist infrastructures – hotels, restaurants, boats and bazaars have zero activity, no movement of people, and no business. Everything stands vacant.


The quandary of tourism players is expected to stay for a longer period since the WHO has declared that the pandemic might infect people for years; hence Kashmir needs to brace itself for a longer war against the virus.


The Government, as guardian of people, needs to devise a policy for assisting the tourism sector in Kashmir, since it has taken measures for various other sectors in the region.


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