Tourism gets lease of life

There is need to focus on this market more vigorously and tap its potential to the full in the coming years

GKNN
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 15 2018 11:21PM | Updated Date: Jan 15 2018 11:21PM

Amidst the prolonged slump it has been undergoing, the tourism industry of Kashmir has received an upbeat signal from an unexpected corner. Sending over 10,000 tourists to the Valley in 2017, the Southeast Asia has emerged as a potential tourist market for Kashmir. According to the official figures, over 6,000 tourists from Malaysia and 4,000 from Thailand visited Kashmir in 2017. There is need to focus on this market more vigorously and tap its potential to the full in the coming years. Over the years, a positive change that has happened in the Kashmir tourism industry is that the local players as well as the government agencies entrusted with promotion of hospitality industry have sought to stretch their limbs beyond the traditional tourism market of Kashmir. Where the tourism players have done a lot of promotional work in Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat— the potential hubs of Kashmir tourism market— they have also launched promotional campaigns in certain foreign markets. Hopefully, this has begun to pay the dividends, an example of which is the traffic from the Southeast Asia. The government would have to encourage the private players by way of logistic support. A good step from the government in this regard could also be the facilitation of direct flights from Srinagar International Airport to certain foreign countries, where from the tourist flow can be attracted to Kashmir. The tourism industry of Kashmir had come under a jolt in the wake of 2014 floods in the state. With innumerable bookings getting cancelled in the wake of floods, followed by the prolonged depression, the local tourism players suffered immense business losses. The depression in the industry continued for a long time. Now that a good beginning has been triggered from largely an “unexpected” market, it is time for the government to take every possible initiative to sustain this momentum and ensure an increase it in the coming times.