After a lull of almost one-and-a-half years, Kashmir was once again abuzz with tourists as thousands of people from different parts of the country descended on the picturesque Gulmarg, Pahalgam and other areas of the valley for the New Year.
As tourist arrivals spiked, the region witnessed immense traffic jams. The situation was once such in the preferred skiing destination Gulmarg that some tourists had to ring in the New Year from their vehicles stuck in traffic.
“One needs to keep in mind that global destinations are ruled out because of the pandemic and Kashmir became an apparent choice for domestic travellers,” says Nighat Shah, the reservation manager with a prominent hotel chain in Srinagar and Gulmarg.
Hotels and resorts organised quite a lot of events on the New Year’s Eve. Firecrackers illuminated the sky and musical shows enthralled the tourists.
The tourism branch too organised an event in Gulmarg that drew numerous visitors. Kashmir Divisional Commissioner P K Pole was once the chief guest at the event.
“In the end, people have undergone a large number of stress all through 2020. Our effort was once to help them de-stress,” says Masroor Hussain, the general manager of a hotel in Srinagar.
Managing Director of Ahad Group of Hotels Asif Burza says that after many years the tourism industry in the valley has seen any such engaged December.
“Not only in Gulmarg, occupancy of hotels in Pahalgam and Srinagar too increased. There’s a feel good factor in the tourism industry and we are taking a look forward to a great season ahead,” he said.
He thanked the Kashmir administration for controlling the Covid-19 pandemic. “Of class lesson the Covid crisis was once mannered managed…. It encouraged tourists to visit,” he said.
With the pandemic upsetting plans of go back and forth to Europe, Kashmir emerged as the most preferred destination for tourists, he said.
Hussain feels that efforts made by hoteliers to woo domestic tourists by launching a programme, ‘Unlock Kashmir’, helped.
“This is a hard fight ahead. But, the aim of this programme was once to garner toughen as Kashmir’s tourism can go to higher places whether supported together by private and government players,” he said.
The tourism industry in Kashmir has suffered prior to now few years for quite a lot of reasons, especially after the government imposed restrictions following the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nighat Shah said that each tourist is mannered informed approximately the Covid-19 protocols and at the hotels “we follow all of the Covid norms religiously. We undertake steady cleanliness drives and deal with quality and hygiene. We are dedicated to give you the best experience to the guests, but we also take additional precautions in view of the pandemic.” In Pahalgam, Rattan Shah from Gujarat said that he chose the destination after studying the affect of Covid-19 in Kashmir regularly. “It was once perfectly fine to be at a place where the affect isn’t so serious,” he said.
Summi Gupta and her husband Bimal feel that the decision to come to Kashmir was once correct. “First of all we were sceptical but after we came here, the hospitality of the people was once amazing,” said Bimal. His wife nodded in agreement and added, “Do business from home has its own stress. I guess it was once a much-needed break.”
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)
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