Editorial|Tourist Footfall

In this world of fast travel and super-fast communication, it’s only hard luck that can keep a place like Kashmir away from tourist attention. We all remember that how some decades back Kashmir was full of tourists.

The sectors, directly or indirectly, associated with tourism, were bustling as people from within India and outside the country would choose Kashmir as one of the favourite destinations. That was the time when the means of communication were very poor, and means of transportation that existed then are no match to what exists now.

Given the leaps humankind made in communication and transportation it was certain that Kashmir would be bursting with tourist inflow, and the activities related to this sector would have grown manifold. But unfortunately one particular turn of events changed it all. But in the recent past tourism had once again started picking up.

Many factors contributed to it, and we saw a good footfall of tourists, particularly from within India. Unfortunately, again certain developments impacted adversely and this sector of economic activity was faced with great difficulties. For this there are many reasons, and each needs deliberation among the key players in the sector.

There are certain things that need, in these deliberations, to be kept in mind. One, the situation in Kashmir can take any turn, any time. Past decades are ample to drive the point home. Two, media management is becoming crucial in this all.

The perception about a place plays an important role in making people decide whether to choose it as a travel destination or not. It is dismaying that Kashmir has got a bad media coverage for some time now.

This is one of the biggest challenges faced by the government and the private players in tourism. In this regard an aggressive advocacy, and a professional media outreach is required. Third, tourism in Kashmir needs diversification.

Today’s tourism is not just about site seeing. Sports, adventure, heritage, religious history, and many other forms of tourism have developed over time. This needs a painstaking attention in case of Kashmir. Lastly, there is much to be done to put in place a proper tourism infrastructure in Kashmir.