At Dal Lake in Srinagar, Rizwan Ahmad Bhat is located next to its shikhara (traditional boat), called Do Badan Ek Ene (two body, soul), waiting for tourists. Last year this time, the lake was full of visitors exploring its waters and views of the surrounding hills of Zabarwan.
This summer, the lake and its shores are empty and biker skillfully dressed is annoying. “Look at the empty containers,” Bhat said, 31. “We do not have anyone to take a walk.”
Half a dozen sailors, dressed in T-shirts and jeans, standing, listening to the conversation. They complained that the media scared tourists away from Kashmir. “When people watch TV, they think that Kashmir is burning and we do not have to go,” one of them said, and others agree.
Until July 2016, when the murder of the young militant Burhan Wani triggered a prolonged chain of violence in the valley, Bhat and other boatmen earned Rs 1 000-1500 per day. Now they are lucky if they say Rs 400 per day.
It is the same story on Ali Shah carpets on Saida Kadal Road, 7 km from Srinagar city center. Rugs and blankets sold for tens of rupees are accumulated to the dismay of the General Directorate Rafiq Ahmad Shah. “Tourism is a failure this year, as well as our production,” he said. Orders have been made by artisans in the winter for summer sales because no one foresaw the crisis.
Tourism is important for the economy of Jammu and Kashmir, which accounts for 8% of the state’s gross domestic product. By 2016, the State had registered 1,299 million tourists. The tourism sector employs more than 100,000 people directly and indirectly, according to rough industry estimates.
The 33-hectare tulip garden in Srinagar is the new addition to Kashmir’s tourist spots since 2008. However, in recent months, after the national media became embroiled with stories of violence in the valley, arrivals Of tourists declined. Credit: Athar Parvaiz / IndiaSpend.com
But tourism is also very sensitive to public policy issues. In recent months, national media were flooded with stories of violence in the valley, between April and early June this year, a few thousand tourists arrived, said tourism officials who would not be designated.
The valley has experienced a decline in insurgency-related violence in recent years, but there has not been an increase in street violence, largely caused by stones, as indicated by IndiaPase 30 May. Tour operators and tourism authorities argue that violence is too sporadic and localized to affect travelers.
For tourists, however, any problem, large or small, can be prevented. Resident Bangalore, Badri Raghavan, left a long vacation in Kashmir with his wife and three children in June, although the cost of cancellation has been pronounced. Family plans include a barge at the Naveen period lake in Srinagar and remain at Sonamarg.
“The tour operator has insisted it was safe, but if I had all seven days of vacation for the holidays, so I would pass the look on my shoulders all the time? ‘” Raghavan said.
The numbers of tourism to the valley were directly related to the situation of law and order. Kashmir was a favorite among national and international tourists until 1988, with more than 700,000 arrivals. But in 1989, armed violence began in the valley and numbers were reduced by 200 000. This year, there were 1,500 violent incidents that included bombings and shots.
In 1990 and 1991, there were 4211 and 3780 violent incidents, which allowed the arrival of tourists to be in a meager 6287 tourists, a reduction of 98% compared to the arrival of tourists since 1989.