After the record arrival of tourists in Kashmir this year, there is a need to develop more tourist spots and provide necessary infrastructure there. The Kashmir tourism must not remain confined to some limited places only, but its area should be extended significantly.
Tourism is very important for the economy. Because of the breakdown in tourism for several decades, economy has suffered and so have the people, depending on tourism. Authorities say that they are gearing up to promote winter tourism in a big way this time.
Winter tourism will get a boost if necessary infrastructure and facilities are available to the tourists. If the infrastructure and facilities are missing the large scale promotions and plannings can not provide the desired results. A lot still needs to be done in tourism sector as Kashmir has enormous potential.
The potential has not be fully tapped. Visitors must have enough choice to visit places in Kashmir. More spots have to be identified and developed. And those already identified have to be developed in a big way. Focussing on the traditional tourist destinations only will not do.
Efforts should also be made to pay attention towards other existing tourist spots, which have been largely ignored and neglected for long. No doubt some measures were taken to extend the tourism map beyond Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Srinagar. But these were small steps even though appreciable as well.
At the same time there are complaints that other tourist destinations are not getting the fair treatment as they deserve. There are grievances that several tourist places like Doodpathri, Toosmaidan and Yusmarg have not be developed the way those needed to be.
There is lack of infrastructure. These tourist places have lot of potential to promote tourism, so the grievances of the people living around such places need to be addressed.
Authorities say that they have decided to keep Doodpathri, Yousmarg and Sonamarg open for tourists this winter. It is a good move but developing such places in a big way is equally important. Kashmir witnessed record rush of tourists this year.
As per official figures 23 lakh visitors visited Kashmir till October. The officials are expecting 25 lakh tourists by December end.
Another encouraging sign was the increase in arrival of foreign tourists. Around 13,000 foreigners had visited Valley till October and their number is expected to go up as the winter tourism gains momentum.
The foreign tourists like skiing and other winter sports in the Valley. More and more domestic tourists must be also encouraged to visit Kashmir in winter. Kashmir tourism needs more strengthening for strengthening the overall economy.