By: Dr. Shabir Ahmad Wani
On 5 August, 2019 the Jammu and Kashmir history, present, and future witnessed a massive development in form of abrogation of article 370 that was here in place since independence. If any sector has seen major development it is the tourism sector of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation. This has happened despite the unfortunate pandemic ragging the world and Country after the abrogation. Record numbers of tourists have visited Kashmir since the end of last year. Jammu and Kashmir Tourism has seen the holistic development since the abrogation of article 370. New Tourism spots are being developed at fast, and the traditional tourist spots like Gulmarg and Pahalgam have been strengthened. Very bright statistics have dawned the tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Jammu and Kashmir government on has said recently that the Kashmir Valley is witnessing an exponential increase in the tourism flow due to the successful campaigns to attract maximum tourists towards the region.
According to statistics of the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department, March 2022 broke the 10-year tourist arrival record in Kashmir, signaling that the tourism industry is finally on the path to recovery, stated Government.
Several steps are being taken to promote Jammu and Kashmir in terms of golf tourism and water sports tourism.
The tourism stakeholders along with government aims to make the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir the golfing capital of India and also the water sports hub of country and world.
After the abrogation the focus is to bring the unique concept of border tourism to focus that will throw open unbelievable tourism destinations open to world , and make people of remote areas enjoy dividends of the border tourism. The concept of home stay is being given new direction and encouraged to help the tourists enjoy beauty by feeling at home.
On the other hand of the spectrum, government has again taken the lead by launching ‘Mission Youth,’ a new initiative aimed at bringing 80 villages to the forefront of tourism. The soul of each village, unique on its own, will serve as the USP to promote tourism. The energetic youth of the villages will not only get employment but also will protect themselves as the native ambassadors of tourism. They will focus on ensuring the availability of good home stays and hotels for tourists.
After the abrogation of article 370 Jammu and Kashmir government and tourism department is abuzz with different activities to promote Jammu and Kashmir as not just the top tourism destination of the country but the world too. From Conferences, road shows to diverse events are being held to promote Jammu and Kashmir.
Full focus is given on to showcase the rich heritage of Jammu and Kashmir.
The expert pulse is that Jammu and Kashmir showcases a wonderful heritage of built and natural stuff. And most of the heritage sites are also well maintained and well preserved. But most of the sites are still to be explored for promotion of heritage tourism. In fact, we are still involved in preservation and conservation process and Government is taking next steps to promote Jammu and Kashmir heritage tourism.
After the abrogation the destination festivals and organising dedicated trekking expeditions has been forte of Jammu and Kashmir tourism sector.
Located in the young folds of the Himalayas, 123 km from Srinagar and 86 km from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, Gurez Valley is situated at an elevation of 8,000 feet and this picturesque destination has seen scores of mega festivals since the abrogation. As a result Gurez is developing the next tourist Hotspot for the domestic and foreign tourists.
In Jammu region, Chenab River and region is being promoted as among best water or River Rafting destination of the country.
Rafting in Chenab is a life time experience and tourists love to spend some thrilling time in water after long hours of travel and yatra. It is the perfect destination to enjoy White Water Rafting experience.
Paragliding like best adventurous activity for tourists is being promoted in Kashmir.
Amid the stifling heat across the country, tourists now have steered towards the Kashmir valley at a bewitching new paragliding spot, Astanmarg top.
Located on the outskirts of Srinagar, the paragliding begins from Astanmarg top to Chandpora ground. Covering a vertical drop of 2000 feet (ft), it serves as a feast for adventure lovers and tourists.
Tourists here book the ride online and the report at Harwan garden which is a 15 minutes car drive from Harwan to Astanmarg, perched at 2255 meters/7400 feet.
Jammu and Kashmir Tourism after the abrogation has seen new dimensions in form of tapping of unexplored destinations in a big manner, attracting global investments for the betterment of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, ensuring good connectivity to the large tourism circuit of Jammu and Kashmir.
Overall, after abrogation Jammu and Kashmir tourism has taken a great flight to prosperity.