Peace in Kashmir raises hopes for tourism industry

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 06:29 administrator
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The heaven on earth is slowly returning to a state of peace and tranquility, bringing hope for the local population.

 


Kashmiris who depend on tourism for their livelihood are looking forward to brisk business this summer. If the peace holds it could return smiles on their faces.

Irrespective of the season, Srinagar attracts tourists throughout the year to enjoy its snow clad mountains, colors of fall and greenery of the summers. Dal Lake, the largest lake spread across 26 sq. mts is home to the maximum number of houseboats and Shikaras. No trip to Kashmir is complete without a stay on one of its luxurious house boats and a boat ride on a 'Shikara' along the pristine lake.

It was last year that the situation turned around in the valley. Agitations, protests and stone-pelting were replaced by joyful crowds, peace and the return of tourists. The entire population of Kashmir seemed to have followed an undeclared resolve to maintain peace and restore normalcy to the state’s sagging economy.

Peaceful 2011 has been the year of making history in terms of arrival of record number of tourists and pilgrims.A tactful handling of the situation in Kashmir would ensure another bumper tourist season in succession. Kashmir Valley received the highest ever number of a little over 1.3 million tourists which was 79 per cent higher than the previous year. Ladakh also witnessed an unprecedented increase in arrivals in 2011, which were 179,000, 136 per cent more than the previous year. This year, the State’s Ministry of Tourism has set a target of hosting 1.7 million tourists, including the Amaranth pilgrims.

 

---Faraz Khan is a freelance journalist.