The tourism industry in Kashmir is starting another marred year with the entry into force of Covid-19 lockdowns in many states and Union territories across the country.
For the third year in a row, the tourism industry will experience thousands of job losses as restrictions prevent people from traveling for leisure.
April and May and important months for the domestic tourism industry in Kashmir as it is the vacation time for travelers and tourists to India to escape to the harsh summer climate.
Kashmir is a great place. In fact, the tourism industry had experienced a major boom during the winters when the Union Territory hosted National Winter Games in Gulmarg.
But the laxity of the UT administration which has gone into overdrive to project scenes of normality and also invite travelers without setting up an effective screening mechanism has allowed the virus to raise its ugly head, shattering US records. last year.
The lockdown which was not extended well into the second half of May dashed the hopes of the tourism industry.
âTour operators, taxi owners, hotel owners, tour guides and others have suffered a lot since 2019. Due to the lack of activity, hundreds of tour operators have closed their doors after suffering losses,â he said. said Aijaz Rah, an industry insider.
Speaking to Brighter Kashmir, a tour operator said hundreds of bookings made by potential tourists from Maharashtra, which sends the largest number of domestic visitors to Jammu and Kashmir, have canceled their plans.
Mumbai has been one of the worst affected cities outside of the national capital in terms of infection rate and number of deaths.
âIt will be another gloomy year for thousands of people associated with the tourism industry and their families. Many of them in hotels were sent home, âhe said.
Bahram P Zadeh, chairman of the Pune chapter of the Association of Travel Agents of India, told a national daily that he hoped the tourism sector would revive.
âAlmost 95% of the bookings were for national tours, but all were canceled,â he said.
Tourism is considered a major tool for economic development, emerging as the fastest growing sector with a global gross domestic product (GDP) of nine percentiles.
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), also known as ‘Heaven on Earth’, is one of the popular tourist destinations in India and around the world.
The industry pays tribute to job creation and infrastructure development with nearly 50-60% of the total population of J&K is directly and / or indirectly engaged in tourism-related activities.
The government recently announced plans to start exploring unexplored tourist destinations like Bungus Valley and Lolab Valley, which could prove beneficial for the development of remote and remote areas of J&K, but these plans have been put to rest. aside for now.