Caution on Tourism

Flagging off the state’s first ever international ‘Tour-de-India’ cycling event in Srinagar, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called for repackaging of Kashmir to draw more tourists to the state. This repackaging would include countering negative propaganda about the state to win back the confidence of the countries that still have negative travel advisories about the state in place. The Chief Minister underlined the need to build on the big boost that the tourism in Kashmir received after Britain lifted its long-standing advisory against traveling to some parts of the state. In July last year, Germany became the first European country to revise the advisory on Kashmir. Similarly, Japan has done the same. This changing international outlook on the state is already translating into the increasing number of tourist arrivals to the state. This year alone, a record number of more than a million tourists have visited the state and many more are expected in winter to witness the snow in the high-altitude tourist resorts like Gulmarg. However, in this heady talk of attracting ever-increasing number of tourists to the state, no thought is spared for the Valley’s capacity to accommodate this huge rush. There are two important aspects to the issue that need urgent attention. One is the inadequate tourist infrastructure which makes it difficult to absorb the growing tourist rush and another is the unplanned development and the encroachment of the tourist resorts that is taking place in the garb of providing accommodation to the increasing number of visitors. The indiscriminate and insufficiently regulated construction activity has already taken a heavy toll on Gulmarg and Pahalgam, which are traditionally the first destinations that tourists on their arrival in Valley visit. While we should celebrate lifting of advisories and woo more tourists to Valley, there is a dire need to pay attention to the degrading environment of our tourist resorts. And this is something nobody in the government seems concerned about at this time.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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