As the Indian government eased Covid restrictions across the country, making travel easier, the Kashmir Valley is seeing an exponential increase in tourist flow as the valley Iinternational athe airport recorded attendance of more than four lakh visitors in April .
According to officials, the month of April recorded attendance of around 4,13,198 visitors at Srinagar International Airport with 2909 flight movements recorded during the month.
Aakruti from Nasik Maharashtra who for the first time, with his family, planned trip to the valley said that the moment of being in the valley is the most memorable for her
“During my current stay in the valley, I have visited various tourist destinations, and with each destination, I feel that the maximum remains unexplored,” she said.
Maharashtra’s Aakar, while addressing Rising Kashmir, said he would not like to resume normal course of work at home.
“I surely carry a good experience of being in the valley with my family, but going back to my normal work routine at home is something I would not like, because I want to spend more time here,” he said. -he declares.
According to the hotel club, the HHotels in the valley are seeing steady bookings while travel companies say properties are sold out through June.
“We aim to see Kashmir as a four-season destination, and people around the world should not limit it to summers or winters only,” said a member of the J&K hotel club.
Tourism department officials say that the year 2021 saw 665,814 visitor visits to the valley while the end of the year in December saw 1,43,057 tourist arrivals.
According to official data reviewed by the Rising Kashmir, the starter of the year 2022 showed upward trends in tourist footfall in the valley. According to official figures, January saw 61,000 visitors, followed by February who recorded 1.05 thekhMarch recorded 1.80 thekh visitors and the month of April recorded arival of 2.60 thekh tourists, which is the highest so far in the month.
Stakeholders associated with the tourism industry in the valley said they had pinned their hopes on seeing a 12-month tourist season this year. year after suffering unexpected losses in recent years.
The first summers in the valley and rising temperatures across the country have also led people to vacation in the valley.
It is pertinent to mention that for the first time, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has approved the five (5) flights per week between Srinagar-Sharjah.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Indian government, it awarded M/s Go Air India Ltd. traffic rights to operate on the Srinagar-Sharjah route.
Notably, flight operations between Srinagar and Sharjah were operating under an air bubble arrangement which was in place until March 26, 2022, after which all air bubble arrangements were canceled when the India resumed scheduled international passenger flights on March 27, 2022.
Scheduled international passenger flights operate under a bilateral air services agreement signed between the two countries, but in the absence of the required bilateral rights to operate scheduled flights, Go First has ceased operating the Srinagar flight -Sharjah-Srinagar from March 27.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had inaugurated Go First’s Srinagar-Sharjah flight on October 23 last year, linking Jammu and Kashmir with the United Arab Emirates after around 11 years.
Meanwhile, the tourism department in order to ensure compliance with advertised tariffs on various tourist services, the Kashmir tourism department has set up a central monitoring team and a destination team, to carry out random checks in various destinations including Dal and Nigeen Lake.
In an order issued by the Kashmir Tourism Department, he has formed a central committee, consisting of Deputy Director of Tourism Registration, Deputy Director of Kashmir Tourism, Deputy Director of Tourism Enforcement and Director recreation/tourist events assistant. While the destination team includes the relevant deputy tourism manager, the relevant deputy tourism manager, rrepresentative of Tourism Dev. Authority and Incharge Tourist Police of the station.
“It is further ordered that the central team be instructed to carry out random checks in various destinations, including Dal and Nigeen Lakes to verify whether the service providers are following the set tariffs for various services and the SOPs notified from time to time are being followed,” the order reads.
JThe Ministry of Tourism has also advised all tourism service providers to refrain from any form of cheating or overcharging by tourists. The Department has made it clear that the relevant provisions of the J&K Tourism Trade Registration Act of 1978/2012 and other criminal statutes will be invoked in cases of deviant actors.
According to a ministry spokesperson, it was the responsibility of the stakeholders and the Department to ensure that tourists were decently received, properly and fairly charged for the services they used so that they returned with memories as beautiful as Kashmir.
In another important development last month, Srinagar International Airport recorded 102 flight movements in a single day. Notably in the past few years, Srinagar International Airport has also launched the night flight services, international cargo services and direct international flights to Sharjah.
Last month, an international cargo terminal at Srinagar International Airport was also inaugurated to boost exports.
Tourism Commissioner Secretary Sarmad Hafeez in an interview with Rising Kashmir said that the tourism department this season in UT is organizing a series of summer festivals of which festivals and tourism events have already started in Jammu .
“We are also planning to revamp a mega houseboat festival this season. AAfter starting last year, the houseboats that ideally served to attract fewer tourists at the end of the year are now reserved and busy throughout,” Hafeez said.
In a response for the question of exploring more than 75 untapped tourist destinations in the valley, he said the government is focusing more on these destinations to give them a new face with more facilities for visitors.
“We are planning to hold a big birdwatching festival this month. We try to invite out-of-town birdwatchers, along with that we focus on adventure tourism in UT. In Jammu we have already started paragliding and to start with reconnaissance in the valley is underway,” added Hafeez.
Jhe tourism department of Jammu and Kashmir over the past two years, having been allocated a huge budget, has organized a series of programs and events across the country with the aim of attracting tourists to The valley.
Hafeez said the tourism department is also considering setting up tent colonies in various environmentally fragile tourist destinations.
“We are working very strongly towards heritage tourism, having started the heritage city tour, we are aiming to start destination tours in Gulmarg, Pahalgam and various other destinations for which the modalities are being finalized,” he said.