by Nida Mehraj
SRINAGAR: As the tourism sector in Kashmir got badly affected since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the receding of the second wave, the ailing industry is back on track.
According to a report titled ‘Jammu and Kashmir marching to a new tune – towards prosperity, progress, and peace issued by the Department of Information and Public Relation (DIPR), the UT of J&K had one of the highest footfalls of tourists. “One of the highest footfalls of tourists have been seen in Jammu and Kashmir between Nov 2020 to April 2021 which is three times greater the jump of tourists from 36828 in Nov 2020 to 113010 in March 2021,” read the report.
The government has identified tourism as a priority sector for vaccination drives in Jammu and Kashmir. “Almost 80% of tourism service providers have been vaccinated till date,” the report revealed.
General Secretary, Houseboat Association, Abdul Rasheed Kaloo, General Secretary, Houseboat Owners Association, said “The 1st jab of vaccination has been properly done by almost 70% of tourism service providers and we are all waiting for the 2nd jab. The tourism department is also exploring new places,” Kaloo said.
Even though the government provided incentives to stakeholders in the tourism industry, but according to him, they were not enough given the loss due to successive lockdowns.
“The houseboat owners were not benefitted from the efforts of the Tourism department,” he said. The Houseboat industry in tourism is going through its worst phase. They are about to give up their houseboat with licenses voluntarily. Rasheed said. “We went to state and central administration several times to do something good in our favor but to no avail.”
Also, the announcement of Film policy on 06 August 2021, in order to promote UT as a shooting destination, was also highlighted among key achievements in the report.
Besides that, the report listed other achievements in the tourism industry. Also, in order to raise more importance regarding several tourism potentials of Kashmir, and to address the several opportunities regarding travel and tourism, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India (GOI), Department of Tourism J&K, and FICCI jointly organized an event “Tapping the tourism potential of Kashmir – Another day in Paradise” in Srinagar from April 12 to April 13, 2021.
The foundation of Tirupati Temple for lord Venkateswara built on a 62.06-acre piece of land in Majeen Village laid in Jammu in June 2021, has been listed among key achievements in the Tourism sector.