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Tourism restrictions lifted in Kashmir

Tourism restrictions lifted in Kashmir

Tag:GS-3||Economy|| Services||Tourism

What is the Issue?

  • Jammu and Kashmir has been reopened to tourists now more than two months after the government asked tourists and pilgrims to leave the state before it made the big announcement of ending the special status for Jammu and Kashmir by removing most of the provisions of Article 370.
  • An order dated October 9, Jammu and Kashmir’s Home Department lifted the travel advisory in the state.

Background

  • On 2nd August 2019 –travel advisory was released asking tourists to leave the state due to terror threat.
  • An order dated October 9, Jammu and Kashmir’s Home Department lifted the travel advisory in the state.
  • Thousands of tourists, pilgrims, workers, and students from other states had to leave Jammu and Kashmir in early August after authorities issued a security alert over possible terrorist attacks.
  • According to officials in the tourist department, about 20,000 to 25,000 visitors were present in the valley, which was in its peak tourist season at that time.

The Downfall

Major tourist Attractions in J&K

  • Jammu—the winter capital
  • Srinagar—the summer capital of the state, set around Dal Lake, with its floating houseboats.
  • Gulmarg—Skiing and India’s highest gondola.
  • Katra—in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains and home of the holy Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
  • Leh—the jumping-off point for treks and adventures around Ladakh.
  • Pahalgam—a calm and serene place offering multiple trekking routes. The starting point of Amarnath Yatra.
  • Patnitop—a small hill station in Jammu.
  • Kishtwar locked between Himalayas and known for Saffron.
  • Amar Mahal –Amar Mahal is a palace on the banks of the Tawi River.
  • Tso Moriri lake

Tourism in J&K

  • The tourism sector plays an important role in the state’s economy.
  • With a 56 % share, the service sector constitutes most of J&K’s economy.
  • Other two major sectors constituting the state economy are industry at 27.8 % and agriculture at 16 %.
  • The sector has huge potential for employment generation, even for unskilled manpower.
  • Tourism also caters to the allied sectors like handicrafts, handlooms, and transport.
  • Despite the state’s unique and rich culture and heritage assets, the tourism sector accounts for only around 6.98% of the state’s GDP.
  • Before 1989, an average of million tourists visited the Kashmir valley every year.

  • Kashmir witnessed a bad tourism year in 2018 with only 5 lakh domestic and foreign tourists visiting the valley, a figure lowest in last seven years and showing a decline of 23 percent from 2017.
  • In 2019, according to official figures
    • 74 lakh -June
    • 52 lakh -July
  • The Ladakh region in the only place in the state which has witnessed an encouraging hike in the number of tourist arrivals.

Challenges now

  • The problem for the Tourism industry has been accentuated by the non-availability of internet and mobile connectivity.
  • They cannot communicate with tourists.
  • They do not even know the status of bookings confirmed before 5th August 2019.
  • Deterrent for tourists as well.

The ongoing curbs in Kashmir

  • Some of the restrictions and curbs enforced on 5th August have been slowly relaxed.
  • Mobile and internet communications in the Kashmir Valley are largely still blocked.
  • Curfew is still imposed in some areas.
  • Public transport, markets are mostly shut down.


Way forward

  • The present situation is not a perfect sight for tourists and other businesses. For tourism to flourish the return of normalcy is important and government needs to lift the restrictions on transport and communication which would help to review the business in the valley.

Mains Model question

  • Tourism can become one of the mainstays of Indian economy if certain basic issues are taken care of.Examine

References