Streamline the Sectors

February 5, 2018 EDITORIAL 163 Views
Streamline the Sectors

Jammu and Kashmir has to prioritize many sectors including Education, agriculture, tourism and horticulture. With the focus on all these sectors, the government in the State would witness massive results. Among the priorities set by the incumbent government before taking from where the previous had left, promotion of J&K tourism stood out conspicuously. There have been at least two facets projected with the government’s over-eagerness to promote and enhance tourism in the state. One, that the government has been trying to rebuild the confidence of tourism players by sending the message of peace and reiterate the assurance on safety, which are essential for attracting tourists to the state, particularly to Kashmir. Two, the government has also been investing in the state to create necessary tourism infrastructure by building facilities and identifying new places and amusements in all three divisions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Such a priority has also become apparent due to the state chief ministers batting for tourism and its development. Despite the persistent efforts from the government and those of the previous one, tourism in Kashmir has reached a standstill. Every year the pilgrimage to Amarnath Cave sees a number of batches of thousands of pilgrims reaching the cave and paying obeisance. But not much is expected in terms of benefitting the state tourism players except a handful of service providers who are into booking hotels at few places or those selling chopper tickets/provide transport services. There also service providers have been complaining of issues like tickets being sold out in advance to few agencies and permissions being denied by local transport unions. The overall picture is that it does not contribute to state tourism as is the common perception. The main tourism component, which includes both the domestic influx and the foreign travelers, has been lagging thereby making the state investment a bad deal. In 2016, as per one report, the tourists’ number had halved compared to the year before when it was recorded to be 13 lakh. A commerce chamber official had also pegged the daily loss at around Rs 100 core. Although Ladakh division, and Jammu also to some extent, is trying to catch up, Kashmir has been a real disappointment in the last couple of years. Government and also some of the service providers in recent past have blamed media and its negative coverage and portrayal of Kashmir for hurting the state tourism.

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