“The youth of Kashmir are restless and want to change. I see a new dream in their eyes. I am seeing a new dawn here. The warmth of new sunrise in Kashmir would bring happiness on all the faces here,” said Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after Kashmir bifurcation.
213 days since the lockdown, Kashmir has neither received the development that was promised nor the happiness that was talked about. Instead, reports suggest that Kashmir’s tourism industry is facing a major set back since the bifurcation.
On the verge of collapse
Winter has passed and Spring is in the air, but the chances of revival in the number of tourists visiting the flower gardens remain bleak, all thanks to the partial internet shutdown and lockdown.
According to reports of Brighter Kashmir, a majority of the tour operators are of the belief that last year’s August 5 advisory asking tourists to leave Kashmir has left behind a “bad impression” in the minds of visitors who would otherwise frequent Kashmir every year.
“We are in a bad condition at present,” Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance (JKTA) Manzoor Pakhtoon said to media.
“When the Centre announced advisory last year, many tourists fled Kashmir in bad taste. Many of them had to cut short their stay. That was something really bad for Kashmir’s tourism sector which continues to haunt us,” he added.
Has done nothing to woo tourists
While there were larger promises made to revive the industries in Kashmir and bring about development JKTA says that the government has not done anything extraordinary to woo tourists.
The tourism industry fell to a 16-year low in 2019 and tour operators, hoteliers and houseboat owners have lost thousands of crores. “There were some roadshows in many parts of India but that’s a routine. We urge the Centre to immediately restore the high-speed internet services so that tourism starts picking up again and the industry is saved from collapsing completely,” Manzoor said.
As per the reports of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the hospitality and transport sector alone lost business worth Rs 4,882 crore between August and December.
Many countries including Germany, the UK, US and Canada had issued notices on travelling to Jammu & Kashmir to their citizens. Meanwhile, the government has revoked the ban on social media after nearly seven months. However, 2G speed remains. While there is access to all sites, 3G and 4G in