Srinagar: Kashmir is the safest and most beautiful destination, and the warmth of the local people adds to its attractiveness, says Dorothy Mundia, a Canadian national presently on a vacation in Kashmir with 26 other citizens of her country.
After 52 years, Dorothy is returning to Kashmir, and as she does, she remembers her earlier, younger trip.
“The infrastructure has changed significantly over the past five decades, but Kashmir's seductive beauty, which is calming to the eyes and the psyche, is one thing that has not altered,” she says.
Dorothy is a member of a tour group of 27 Canadians led by the Canadian travel agency Explore India Journeys, which is run by Nazeer Ahmad Karnai, a Kashmiri.
Another Canadian, retired miner Rene Carrier, claimed that in addition to Kashmir's stunning landscapes, many additional features contribute to the region's allure.
“The friendliness of the people of Kashmir, who welcome visitors with open arms, is unparalleled and unmatched anywhere else in the world,” he says.
Rene says he has been to Kashmir for three days and wants to stay longer as he is in love with the place.
“It is secure. We neither faced a threat nor any other issue. I would advise my compatriots to visit Kashmir at least once in their lives," he says. “Despite the Canadian government's warning against visiting Kashmir, we have complete faith in Nazeer who made sure we got the best accommodation and had a trouble-free trip.”
Another Canadian visitor Jeniffer, who is currently in Srinagar, claims that she was unaware of Kashmir a few weeks ago.
“However, once our tour manager, Nazeer, told us about the location, many thoughts were running through my head regarding the visit to Kashmir,” she says. “Some spoke negative things about the security circumstances but thank God, we stuck to our decision to visit the world's most stunning location. As I have travelled around the world, I have concluded that Kashmir is unique. Its culture, people, and surroundings all contribute to the appeal and truly transform Kashmir into a ‘Paradise on Earth.’"
President of Explore India Journeys, Nazeer Ahmad Karnai says that it was challenging to persuade travellers from other countries to visit Kashmir due to unfavourable travel advisories imposed by their governments.
"Even though we have been working hard to draw high-end Canadian tourists and have had some success doing so, I would like the J&K government to raise the matter of the negative travel advice with other countries through proper channels to get it rescinded,” he says.
Karnai emphasises that other issues that the local authorities should be aware of were the lack of clean, sanitary restrooms between Srinagar and any popular tourist location in Kashmir.
Nazeer’s brother Bashir Ahmad Karnai, who helped arrange a Canadian tourist's visit here, says Kashmir has been successful in luring high-end foreign visitors due to its excellent grade of service.
“After 2019, it was one of the largest high-end tourist groups to visit Kashmir, and in the future, we will keep working hard to attract more high-end foreign visitors to Kashmir,” he says.