Kashmir’s tourism sector on path of revival post Covid lockdown
Srinagar, Aug 7: After facing huge business losses due to back to back Covid-induced lockdowns, Kashmir's tourism sector is finally on the path of recovery with an influx of tourists showing an upward trend from the last few months.
According to hoteliers, there is above 40 percent occupancy in hotels, while most of the high-end hotels are fully occupied as due to restrictions on international travel, most of the high-end tourists in India prefer to visit Kashmir.
Kashmir's tourism sector has witnessed huge losses due to lockdown which led to drastic dip in tourist arrivals in the Kashmir division.
However post June there has been an upward trend in the tourist influx, the government of India’s figures on number of visitors recorded at Srinagar Airport also corroborates the fact that Kashmir’s tourism is on a path of recovery.
As per the figures, more than 36 per cent dip in the number of visitors has been recorded in the month of May. After March this year when the number of visitors arrived at Srinagar Airport was 301887, there was a decline in April, May.
With the unlocking of restrictions, the number of arrivals has been gradually picked up post June as 165100 visitors arrived at the airport in the month.
In July, the number increased to 271843 visitors while the first week of August so far has also recorded an increase in the arrivals.
Tourism players are now jubilant over the fact that after a long wait finally tourism is back on track.
Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers Club, Mushtaq Chaya said that it is a good sign that tourists are now visiting Kashmir in good numbers. “Most of our high-end hotels are fully occupied, while the number of budget class tourists is still less. But given the fact that this time of the year we used to have very less influx, the number of arrivals is encouraging.”
“Though the number of tourist arrivals is increasing, but at the same time we have been time and again urging the authorities to help the tourism players who have suffered huge losses. Banks have not come forward, there should be a liberal funding for the tourism sector so that hoteliers, houseboat owners and travel agents can resume their line of activity.”
President, Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers and Restaurant Association, Showkat Chowdhary said that tourism players are happy with the fact that the tourism sector is showing signs of recovery. “We have suffered a lot, hoteliers and restaurant owners have incurred huge losses. Our liabilities have increased manifold due to Covid induced restrictions. Finally now tourists are returning, it will help us cover our expenses and be able to stand up on our feet again.”
Chowdhary said the untiring efforts put in by the government, the tourist flow to Kashmir has seen an upward trend despite pandemic which has helped tide over some of the losses incurred by the industry for over two years.
President, Kashmir Hotels and Restaurants Owners Federation (KHAROF), Abdul Wahid Malik said that there is 40 percent occupancy in hotels this time which is a good thing given the fact that this time of the year we used to have very few tourists here.
“ But there is a lot to be done to help Kashmir’s tourism restore its past glory and the government has to play an important role in it to help remove negative perceptions about the place,” he said.