After the abrogation of Article 370 in August, Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism has taken a backseat, despite the period between June and September being the prime season that witnesses maximum footfall every year. In order to jump-start tourism in the Valley, the Pahalgam Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association (PHROA), along with Travel Association of India and Travel Agents Association, Pune, plan to promote the prominent tourist destination of Pahalgam and also convey that the union territory is safe for people to visit.
Asif Iqbal Burze, President of PHROA, said the Valley was heavily dependent on the earnings from tourism and despite the decrease in footfall after the abrogation of Article 370 during peak tourism months last year, there was an increase in inquiries about the Valley.
“It is a positive sign. We cannot say for sure right now how the situation will pan out. But the number of inquiries are more and is showing an upward trend…” He also said apart from the shrine of Amarnath being the most revered pilgrimage in the area, the Valley had plenty to offer when it came to serene landscapes, culture and cuisine.
“This is one of those experiential destinations that has four seasons and has something different to offer on each trip,” he added.
“Every place in every state holds a potential for tourism. Travellers are willing to explore various pockets of the Valley. It is often the adrenaline rush that is offered by the destination that provokes people to travel to an area…” said Javed Bakshi, director, Sheri Kashmir International Convention Complex (SKICC). He also said since the state had been deemed to be a union territory, it was the onus of the tourism department to highlight the region.
Vishwas Kelkar, chairman, Travel Agents Association, Pune, said Maharashtra alone constituted approximately 50 to 60 per cent of the footfall in the Valley. “A meeting with 130 local travel agents and organisations will be held to promote Jammu and Kashmir as a destination for travellers in order to boost tourism in the Valley,” he said.
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