Srinagar, Sep 8: As authorities are taking various initiatives to promote tourism and explore the unvisited places in Jammu and Kashmir, the explorers and travelers demand that the government must take concrete steps to educate people regarding village tourism.
The travelers, explorers, and campaigners believe that the content of village tourism apart from attracting more visitors will also act as the main source to generate more avenues and give people in the farthest places more opinions to earn their livelihood without facing any difficulties.
They claimed that in other parts of the world and even in some states of India, border village tourism gives visitors more options to explore and stay as per their will while it opens windows of hope and avenue for the people living in border villages.
Waseem Ahmad, who is an explorer and a student by profession, and claims to have visited most of the places in the northern belt of Kashmir said that the three border districts have great potential to host hundreds of people regularly since all the places are gifted with amazing natural beauty.
“All the three border districts including Baramulla, Kupwara, and Bandipora have enough potential to attract visitors both locals and non-locals. Only a few steps are to be initiated by the authorities to open the border village tourism window in the valley,” he said.
Rahul Rai, a non-local who claimed to have recently returned from Ladakh said that he was staying for a couple of days at a village known as Turtuk close to the border in a homestay facility that gave him more time and satisfaction to spend extra time there and visit more places in the surrounding area.
“There is no denial in saying that Kashmir is nature’s gift and has no comparison when it comes to attractive beauty but it lacks village tourism which is now available in most of the places. It plays an important role to attract more and more visitors since the basic requirement is satisfaction and safety of an individual and belongings,” Rai said.
Rahul said that they are a group from Delhi mainly the employees who borrow some days to visit places like Kashmir valley and had planned to visit north Kashmir villages but due to the unavailability of village tourism their plan changed since the locals informed about the unavailability of the accommodation facility.
“I hope that a village tourism facility comes up in the border villages of Kashmir and we accept that the administration will work on the same,” he said.
Another local explorer from Baramulla district Junaid Ahmad said that places like Gurez, Tangdhar, Uri, and other unexplored places have an unmatched level of potential to attract a huge number of visitors without even a break during the summer and winter season as well.
“Government must educate border residents regarding village tourism and home stay facilities in particular. It will generate more revenue options for the locals and the places even can have a developed infrastructure besides more visitors will prefer to visit these places,” he said.
Kashmir valley’s well-known tourism operator Rouf Tramboo while blaming the government for not initiating concrete steps despite assurances to promote tourism in the region said that it’s the government and concerned department in particular which has to take the first step to promote village tourism.
“Holding different tourism-related programs in parts of the valley won’t help, they have to work on the ground. Development authorities formed in J&K need to work since they have got tremendous potential places,” he said. “A tourist who intends to visit a place like Kupwara must have a couple of days there since the return on the same day is not feasible and the infrastructure facilities are not in a good condition to be offered to them.”
“Village tourism can’t be done in just a fortnight, rather it will take time but it can be done slowly by developing little infrastructure so that feedback is gathered from the visitors and all that is required is done with time,” Rouf said.