Kashmir Valley has witnessed record-breaking tourist arrivals this year. Government reports say more than 2 million tourists visited the valley in the eight months of 2022. It’s after decades that Kashmir is once again attracting millions of tourists and tourism stakeholders are calling it the luckiest year ever.
Over 2 million tourists including Amarnath Yatri’s visited the valley in the last 8 months. All the hotels at Srinagar, Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg were fully booked for months. The figures with the government are at an all-time high for tourist’s arrivals in the Valley.
”Around 20 lakh tourists have come to Kashmir this year. It’s wonderful that it happened. It’s a collective effort and I hope it will continue for the coming days as well. 2022 has been a bumper year with regard to tourism. We are hoping the ski lift in Sonamarg will be completed within days and this time Sonamarg will be opened for skiing. We will be keeping it open this winter and promote it as a winter destination. Pahalgam would be preparing for winter as well. We are also planning for Doodhpathri as a winter destination as well. We are hoping the coming winter will see a lot of footfalls,” said Fazl ul Haseeb, Director of Tourism, Kashmir.
The high arrivals of tourists to the valley have revived the tourism industry of Kashmir which was badly hit due to various reasons in the last few years. With combined efforts of government and tourism stakeholders, the industry has finally witnessed some record-breaking arrivals which in turn helped the economy as well as the employment for the youth of Kashmir.
”The number of tourist arrivals has been record-breaking. In my career of 12-13 years, I have witnessed such a tourist arrival for the first time. This is also the first time that I was receiving 200-300 calls from tourists from across the country every day. They wanted hotels, houseboats, taxi’s and we were completely booked. Everything was booked and even this time people had to wait in a queue to get a shikara. We are expecting the number to go further up as the winter approaches. We are already planning for Christmas and New Year’s. The agents think that it’s been quite a lucky year and thanks to the administration for all the help,” said Irshad Hazari, Director, Euphoria Travel Services.
The tourism industry is hoping that the numbers will go further up as the Fall season and winter is close. Government is introducing some new ski resorts in the valley as well. The hotel industry is working on creating more infrastructure and facilities for the huge tourist inflow.