Stray terror incidents notwithstanding, Kashmir is on a high. More than 10 lakh tourists have visited the valley so far, making it one of the successful seasons for tourism in the last 22 years of turmoil.
"More than 10 lakh visitors have visited the state this year generating vast ranging economic activities for people and rejuvenating tourism sector”, said Omar Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.
This year the authorities expect the tourist arrivals to touch a new high. With three months still to go, the tourism planners are confident that the arrivals will surpass last year's figures of 13 lakh in Kashmir.
“We expect an increase in the flow of the tourists during the puja holidays in the country. There are already a good number of bookings in the hotels and houseboats (in the valley). We are slightly better placed then last year," said GM Dag, chairman of J&K Tourism Alliance, an apex body of the people associated with the tourism trade.
This year the Jammu and Kashmir government is focusing on developing golfing circuits and promoting heritage tourism in an apparent bid to woo high-end tourists to the state. The three regions of the state provide an opportunity to national and international golfers to play in varied climatic conditions and relish the scenic splendor of the state.
J&K has already developed world-class golf courses at Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Srinagar to woo golf-enthusiasts of the globe to the state.
“The nine-hole golf course is being upgraded to 18-holes at Sidhra- Jammu. The development of golf course at Leh-Ladakh has also started. These upcoming golf courses will complete the state’s golf circuit which will enable the concerned to plan interesting tournaments for golfers”, said Omar.
The government has also decided to revive the Leisure Light and Sound Shows at selected tourist resorts. Chaar Chinari (Dal Lake) and famous Shalimar Garden have been selected in the first phase where these facilities will be available.
“These activities existed prior to militancy and tourists from across the globe used to enjoy these shows. The time has come to restart these activities in the state," said Nawang Rigzin Jora, J&K minister for tourism and culture.