Road to Recovery | 26.73 lakh tourists visited Kashmir in 2022

A non-local boy and female tourists in Kashmiri attire click selfie with majestic Chinars in the backdrop in Srinagar's Nishat.
A non-local boy and female tourists in Kashmiri attire click selfie with majestic Chinars in the backdrop in Srinagar's Nishat. File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: With over 26.7 lakh tourist arrivals in 2022 – by far the highest number ever seen in the last three decades - Kashmir's tourism industry is finally on the road to recovery.

“This season we have seen a good flow of tourists. Over 1.88 crore tourists visited J&K during the previous year upto December 2022. Of this 26.73 lakh tourists visited Kashmir which is more than double the previous highest of 12.99 lakh in the year 2016," reads an official document of the J&K government.

Post-COVID era, Kashmir has witnessed tourist influx in all seasons, that too high-end tourists who enjoy a quality experience with superior services.

This high influx of tourists has, directly and indirectly, benefited the local populace and brought cheers on the face of people affiliated with the tourism sector, be it hotels, guest houses, houseboats, homestays, or other tourism services.

The tourism industry in Kashmir is pleased with the good tourist flow and is optimistic that further growth would result from effective destination marketing.

"Without a question, 2022 was the best year ever for the tourism industry. We are hopeful for this year as well, but to do that, we must work hard and control prices. Already, travel to Kashmir is too expensive, and now that lodging costs have gone up as well, I think the government needs to take action to control prices so that visiting Kashmir won't become more expensive than visiting foreign locations,” said Muhammad Ibrahim Siah, owner of a travel agency.

Houseboat Owners Association (HBO) Vice Chairman Muhammad Rafiq Karnai said that the government should also promote Kashmir outside of India.

"We appreciate the government's efforts to promote tourism in Kashmir, but the government must work to have the unfavourable travel advisories that many nations have placed on this region lifted in order to regain Kashmir's former prominence on the world tourism map," he said.

With the abolition of Article 370 in August 2019 and the two years of travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19 epidemic, the J&K administration focused on reviving tourism, which is now starting to show results.

A total of 11 lakh people came to Kashmir in 2018 and 2017, while just 8.5 lakhs did so in 2018.

Authorities said that wintertime activities like skiing and the Khelo India Winter Games helped increase the number of visitors.

Popular tourist destinations were open this winter.

When Sonamarg, Yousmarg, and Doodhpathri had their first snowfall of the year in the past, many of them would shut down.

Well-known tourist attractions of Gulmarg and Pahalgam are gearing up for summer tourism as it is anticipated that these destinations would continue to remain busy with the travellers.

Reservations for hotels in Gulmarg, a well-known ski resort worldwide, are also on the rise.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir