Kashmir is known for its beauty and nature. It is the only place where the people visiting from different parts of the globe find solace anywhere. Be it streams, forests or any far-off place, the sound of air and flow of gush brings calm to the people. This is what Emperor Jehangir is reported to have said soulfully about Kashmir -” If there is paradise on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.”
Kashmir’s every place and portion is worth to become a tourist destination as the nature is filled like anything here. Many of the prominent places in Kashmir are Pahalgam, a famous tourist resort, Gulmarg, a world famous ski-resort and Sonamarg, besides others.
The Valley, surrounded by mountains has many more places, where the tourists from across the globe use to visit for adventure purpose or for picnic. Similarly, the world famous Dal Lake in Srinagar is also catching an eye of the tourists visiting here where Shikaras and houseboat welcome them and many among them stay there for night together.
If we talk about Kashmir with regard to tourism, the words will fall short but the beauty and the nature cannot be explained completely. Therefore, one cannot even imagine the potential of tourism in the Valley.
Different seasons are attracting the tourists to different destinations, which has been helping many youth to earn their livelihood. The government has been giving special attention to the tourism sector to boost it with an aim to help the youth to generate their income and earn bread and butter for their families.
Such is the focus that the government even announced relief package for the people affiliated with the tourism sector from time to time be it Covid or anything else. All those affiliated with the trade, have not been let down, rather the government came up with different schemes and programmes to help the youth in this particular field.
Moving from pillar to post, the government has been promoting Jammu and Kashmir as tourism destination in every nook and corner. The government has been organizing road shows, showcasing the best and prominent things to attract the people from outside J&K to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Although the outbreak of Covid-19 brought all the tourism players in a tizzy situation, but now as the cases start decreasing, the tourists from different parts of the country with the help of the government’s outreach programmes have started visiting the Valley once again.
With an aim to generate employment for the youth, the Jammu and Kashmir administration led by Manoj Sinha recently launched the J&K Tourist Village Network initiative which aims at rejuvenating and transforming more than 75 villages in the Union Territory and promoting tourism and sustainable employment for the youth.
The initiative was launched under the Mission Youth and is aimed to work for giving a facelift to the 75 villages in the UT that are already famous for their historical, picturesque beauty and cultural importance.
Moreover, the government has been working to add more picturesque places in Kashmir in the map of tourism. In this mission, Gurez, a famous place has caught an eye of the visitors in the previous tourism season.
The place witnessed a huge number of visitors after the government announced fresh truce with the neighboring country—Pakistan, which helped in keeping one of the border areas calm and thus simultaneously paved way for the young people there to earn bread and butter for their respective families.
The decision of identifying and developing certain number of scenic areas satisfying the requisite parameters as tourist villages in Kashmir Valley under Mission Youth Programme, therefore, must be hailed and looked at from the perspective of engaging youth in such a process for productive economic purposes.
From ponywals to houseboat owners to hoteliers, all have been praising the government’s fresh initiatives with regard to boosting the tourism sector.
In the first place, Gurez is heading towards achieving the dream of the government and many more places according to the government are in the queue to catch the eye of visitors, which would help more youth to get employed.
Besides the government, the Army too has been putting efforts to promote the tourism sector. In this regard, the Army organized a three-day festival last month to promote Doodhpathri as an attractive tourist spot.
Moreover, the Indian Army also renovated a café in Uri along the LoC. According to the latest reports, the café named Café Freedom has been re-established at Kaman Aman Setu in the final post of the Indian Army in Kashmir. The cafeteria is functional in Uri to offer a border-visit experience to the visitors.
In February this year, the Army also organised a two-day winter sports festival to improve tourism in Gulmarg, the world famous ski-resort. Such initiatives of the Army are also increasing the footfall of the tourists.
The tourism sector is widening with each passing day and expansion will not only help to boost the particular sector, but would certainly help many more youth to generate income in one way or the other.
The fresh initiative has put an end to handful number of tourism places and this way the government and the people in unison can further eliminate the unemployment from the Valley.
These initiatives are praiseworthy. The government should further widen its focus on other places as well and come up with different schemes in this regard to help the youth to get employed and eliminate the unemployment further in the Valley.
(The writer is executive editor Lake City Times and can be reached at email@example.com)
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