Valley without tourists 

July 13, 2017 0 Comments EDITORIAL 126 Views
Valley without tourists 

Kashmir is without the sufficient number of tourists these days. This is all because of the ongoing situation and the current crisis. The government is struggling everyday to bring back the lost glory of the tourism sector of the State.  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.  In May, J&K Government had announced massive rebates to boost tourist arrivals to the valley. Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation decided to provide 50 per cent rebate on lodging and transport charges or even on total packages in some cases to the tourists visiting the Valley. Similarly, the private tourism players also offered 32 per cent concessions in boarding and lodging or on total packages. But with situation deteriorating with every passing day, there is little hope that the tourism will pick up.   June is normally the peak period for tourist arrivals in the state. This time, the people who want to escape the scorching heat in the mainland India head to Kashmir. The continuing violence and its disproportionate magnification by the electronic media has ensured no tourists come to Valley. However, we can still hope that the things turn around. More so, after what happened last year. After Kashmir plunged into turmoil following the killing of the popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last year, the tourist arrivals reduced to zero. Six months of shutdown and unending curfews hardly helped the matters.  The figures for the last year make it clear. The number of foreign tourists who visited the state last year was only about 35,000, of which majority were from South Asia, But again signals going out from Valley to the world reflect a Kashmir that is abnormal, a perception that has threatened to kill yet another tourism season. If the situation since March is any indication, nothing is going right for the Kashmir economy. As the onset of spring started bringing tourists back to Valley, a renewed escalation in violence has sent tourists packing and dissuaded people planning to visit to defer their programme. In a matter of days, there have been thousands of cancellations of hotel bookings. This is hitting the traders hard. And if the situation goes on like this, and the summer ends without bringing tourists to Valley, it will deal another big blow to Valley’s economy after the one inflicted by the unrest last year.

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