here is a bit increase in tourist hotspots of Gulmarg and Pahalgam from last few days. The snowfall brought hope to the local people linked with the tourism industry as they expect business to pick up around the New Year. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism has been one the worst-hit sectors from last seventeen months.
For the tourism players in Kashmir it means a rapid, continuous flow of tourists to Kashmir from the Indian plains. It is usually said that the lower the temperature goes in the Indian plains in these days, higher is the rush of the tourists coming to Kashmir. Kashmir has everything that the tourists look forward to: salubrious meadows, gushing rivulets, charming brooks, terraced gardens, snow peaks and enchanting woods. Besides, the temperature even in peak summer hardly touches thirty in the peak tourist spots.
This year, while we were expecting a bumper tourism season, but unfortunately few tourists came here. A mid day stroll at the famous tourist destination Gulmarg, otherwise emblematic of the influx of huge batches of tourists, are empty without the frolicking children of tourists playing in them. The highland resorts of Gulmarg, Dodhpathri, Aharbal and Pahalgam this year witnessed low arrival of tourists. The place which were always flooded with tourists now cuts a sorry figure. One does not even recall when we had the famed Boulevard and Gupkar so devoid of tourists. The hoteliers are sitting idle, the transporters are in doldrums, the trekking guides are idling away their days-it is a pathetic scene if you happen to be one of the key players associated with tourism.
In the aftermath of the August 5 last year, a dwindling number of tourists was expected but not to the extent that the famous tourist spots are devoid of tourists from the Indian plains. It may come as a surprise but the hill stations of Shimla and Dehradun are witnessing a huge rush these days. There have been forces at play to ensure that the economy of Kashmir is brought to a standstill. The current establishment led by the Lt Governor must ensure that the tourist rush is restored to Kashmir.
There is a lot that needs to be done. We just hope that it is done as soon as possible so that at least for the moths of Jan, Feb and we have some semblance of tourism rush in the valley. We want tourists to be milling in and out of our terraced spots. We want couples of honeymoon to be visiting our valleys and meadows. We want it to happen as soon as possible.