With every passing day tourism is becoming an important economic activity in Kashmir. Last year more than one crore tourists visited the valley.
It seems that tourism industry is going to be one of our biggest economic activities in future.
A lot of people from different parts of country and world travel to different destinations in Kashmir valley. Thousands of people from different parts of the country visited border areas of Kashmir also.
Recently government of India has brought several border areas on tourism map which include Keran, Machil, Tangdhar, Teetwal, Gurez, Bangus Valley and other places.
The introduction of new places on tourism map has created endless opportunities for the people to earn their livelihood.
Tourists have started visiting the border area. Bangus valley situated in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district has a huge potential to provide diverse opportunities to the youth of Kashmir during winters as well in summers.
It is believed by experts that alone in District Kupwara place like Bangus Valley, Keran, Lolab Valley, Machil, Teetwal, Tangdhar and Reshwari Mawar bear the potential to provide jobs to the unemployed youth of entire North Kashmir.
Similarly Gurez Valley if developed in a required way, it can open employment avenues for people of whole Gurez Valley and people from other areas can also be absorbed in various tourism related activities in case government develops an appropriate infrastructure for the uplift of tourism sector there.
Kashmir is blessed with immense natural beauty. We have mountains and pristine lakes, rivers and forests that attract tourists. Every part of Kashmir Valley is full with opportunities and employment scope but it needs a big push from the government.
According to Economic Survey 2019-20 report, service sector particularly tourism has proved as the huge contributor to the State Gross Development Product. In J&K service sector’s contribution to SGDP is more than 58 per cent; it is because of tourism.
People can invest in tourism industry for great profit as it can provide opportunities to invest in building of hotels, restaurants and other related infrastructure at newly introduced tourist places like Gurez, Bangus Valley, Machil, Keran, Teetwal, Tangdhar, Uri, Lolab, Doodpathri, Tulail and other areas. A great potential is there to yield great profits as millions of tourists will definitely visit these places if the accommodation issues and other related requirements are made available to the tourists.
In Kashmir Valley sports activities remain suspend during winters but it is important that sports activities should not be stopped during winters in Kashmir.
There is a need to introduce winter sports in these newly introduced tourist destinations so that these areas remain always relevant. Few days back winter carnival was conducted in Drangyari Chowkibal by the district administration Kupwara which experienced huge tourist rush.
The move was seen as a latest push by the district administration to increase the footprint of the tourists. It proved a successful experiment.
District Kupwara, the most scenic destinations has fallen behind on the tourist map but efforts have been initiated to introduce it as a wonderful tourist destinations having diverse tourism potential.
In order to promote the area as a winter sports hub activities such as snow mobile, ice-skating, trekking expeditions and various other snow sports activities were held during Drangyari Winter Carnival. On similar ways, much more carnivals are required to be conducted in every border area of Kashmir valley.
The government of Jammu and Kashmir should support the investment in tourism sector and it needs to persuade Multinational National Companies to invest in this sector. People of Kashmir are in need of a helping hand at the initial stage of any tourism business.
To promote tourism in border areas of Kashmir, government should conduct adventure sports activities in summers as well during winter period.
Just few months before, in 2022, the Indian Army’s Eastern Command announced a series of adventure sports activities on Indo-China border areas.
The adventure activities were planned over 78 days. Cycling, trekking and rafting were conducted. On a similar pattern government should conduct such activities in border areas of Kashmir on a massive scale.
Winter Olympic Games constitute major international multi-sport event conducted during snow season. After every four years winter olympics take place.
Athletes from India also participate in these events. Kashmir valley has a huge potential to host Winter Sports Olympics but unfortunately we still lag behind in creating such an infrastructure.
Need of the hour is to prepare infrastructure in the valley required for winter Olympics in future. Kashmir valley bears the qualities where these sports like Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, and Skiing can be conducted.
Among the total population of Jammu and Kashmir 69 per cent comprises the youth.
Considering this fact, it is very important that young population is taken care of and every effort put in operation to make a reach out to the young population of Jammu and Kashmir. Their every legitimate demand related to jobs should be met with out any further delay.
True, it is not possible for the government to provide a government job to every individual but it is possible definitely that government can guide the youth and provide them assistance to invest in tourism sector.
Thousands of unemployed youth can be absorbed in tourism sector. Kashmir has a vast adventure sports tourism potential. Government should immediately introduce adventure sports activities in all the newly introduced tourist destination.
Kashmir is suitable for White Water Rafting. Our rivers can be used for Wild Water Rafting, Parasailing, Swimming, Angling, and Canoeing. In Land Adventure Sports these places are perfect for Mountaineering, Skiing, Ice Skating, Snowboarding Trekking. Gee Jumps, Mountain Cycling, Jeep Safaris and Cave Exploration. These adventure activities can be conducted during winters and summers.
Kashmir is not only about natural beauty but it has unparalleled potential to be the best adventure sports destination which itself can bring transformation among its young population; only if tourism sector is taken as a priority and people are persuaded towards this sector.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.