Baramulla, Apr 29: Stating that the initiative can generate employment for thousands of the people, residents of border areas in northern Kashmir have now converted their homes into home stays to boost the border tourism amid a peaceful atmosphere.
Trekkers, tourists, and locals have started thronging picturesque villages close to the LoC in Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora. Decades old closed tourist spots near LoC are now being visited by locals almost after 30-years as the areas were under the shadow of guns for decades.
While picturesque Keran and Machhal are located along the LoC in Kupwara district, Gurez is a valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains in Bandipora district and Uri town is located between the hills of Baramulla.
The locals of these areas while talking to news agency said that they have converted their homes into hotels so that they can better manage the incoming tourists which also provided employment to the local residents and did not cause any inconvenience to the tourists to stay here for night.
Shahnawaz Ahmad, a local resident from Dawar area of Gurez, says that they had started the initiative last year by starting to accommodate tourists in his house. He said that the government infrastructure here is not strong enough to accommodate all the tourists. That's why people living in the border areas should decorate their homes and welcome tourists.
Similarly Abdul Majeed, another resident from Karnah said that It is true that many homes have been converted into hotels for tourists because it's our basic goal that more and more tourists should come to our areas so that our areas will come on the map of tourism. "The dreams of development and tourism that we have been dreaming of for decades are coming true now, " he said.
Uri's Saleem Lone also termed the tourism potential of his area as a last hope for employment. We have had to endure a lot over the last few decades and now we want to see happiness," he said, adding that the border areas now benefit only from tourism.
Meanwhile, officials said that the government has been organising various cultural events at the places like Gurez, Uri, Karnah, and Keran sector to attract more tourists. They said that there is an absolute change in the atmosphere and the security situation is better and the people want tourists to come and stay