Jammu and Kashmir: Understanding tourism boom in the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370

The abrogation of Article 370 indeed came as a surprise in 2019. It changed the way Jammu and Kashmir was governed, changed lives for the better, and provided greater opportunities. Ahead of its third anniversary (August 5), FPJ takes a look at how it led to a tourism boom and financial upliftment of the Valley

Abhijeet Raja PatilUpdated: Saturday, July 30, 2022, 08:32 PM IST
article-image

Jammu and Kashmir came to a grinding halt after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. For nearly seven months, the Valley was cut off from the rest of the world as all channels of communication — cellular network, internet and television — were blocked. 

By the time normalcy was returning to the Valley, the pandemic caused further hurdles, with no business happening in Jammu and Kashmir for almost two years. However, things took a turn in January 2021 and changed the tourism sector when the national-level Winter Sports Khelo India Games were held in Gulmarg. Another aspect that further gave a boost to tourism was the unprecedented amount of snowfall and several Bollywood production houses shooting in the Valley. 

The tourism sector saw a resurrection of sorts in the Valley due to the removal of the Article. There were two factors at play here: The international destinations not opening up and the pent-up resentment of being cooped up inside for over a year during the pandemic led people to storm out for vacations to domestic locations.

And, soon, Jammu and Kashmir became one of the top vacation destinations among Indians. The latter was due to a sense of security and safety that had engulfed the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370. This proved to be a major driving force behind tourists flocking the Valley. The middle-class Indian, who avoided such areas during the winter, started exploring the place with vigour. 

The year 2022 welcomed the most visitors in five months (from March to July, nearly 6,00,000) and Kashmir smashed its tourism record of 25 years. Over 68 flights operate to Srinagar daily and all domestic carriers are recording full capacity.

The tourism industry has finally seen a financial uptick with market players making profits after decades of turmoil. Hotels and houseboat owners hiked their rates as tourists have no qualms about shelling out the money.

People working in travel agencies, handicraft industries, and ancillary support like horse riders, shikarawallas, etc, are happy that they are getting employment. Today, Kashmiris have found a new life and have no interest in going back to the days of unemployment.

Barring a few natural calamities, the biggest Hindu congregation in the Valley after Article 370 abrogation, the Amarnath Yatra, is unfolding smoothly with full local support. The common man is only concerned about their daily needs and is not really interested in whether Article 370 abrogation was right or wrong, and is eager to ensure the success of the Yatra.

At my level, I communicate with the highest authorities including the governor, former chief ministers, top bureaucrats, and residents. Today, everyone is gaining something, mainly due to tourism. 

Most potential tourists had unfavourable opinions of Kashmir and believed it to be unsafe. But the truth is rather different. Now, tourists are sharing their positive experiences. One should visit Kashmir at least once in a lifetime to experience the beauty of the place. After all, it's not called heaven on earth for nothing!

(Abhijeet Raja Patil, Chairman, Raja Rani Travels Pvt Ltd)

-As told to Neha Singh

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Mumbai updates: Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde takes part in Dahi Handi program in Ghatkopar

Mumbai updates: Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde takes part in Dahi Handi program in Ghatkopar

Sisodia, Kejriwal paying for their sins, wanted to make Delhi 'Sharab Nagari': BJP MP Manoj Tiwari...

Sisodia, Kejriwal paying for their sins, wanted to make Delhi 'Sharab Nagari': BJP MP Manoj Tiwari...

US: Gandhi statue outside Hindu temple in New York vandalised in possible hate crime, view pics

US: Gandhi statue outside Hindu temple in New York vandalised in possible hate crime, view pics

Goa: 59 lost lives in road mishaps in three months

Goa: 59 lost lives in road mishaps in three months

Here's what NYT said about Manish Sisodia, Delhi education model

Here's what NYT said about Manish Sisodia, Delhi education model