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SRINAGAR: Tourism thriving on grassroots is the omen of positivity for every concerned society and state. Tourism industry is traditionally considered as the backbone of Kashmir`s economy.  With the growth in the tourism industry other related sectors like handicrafts, hotel industry, tour and travel agencies, retail trade market, and floriculture boost up. Thus, the overall economy grows.

It is well known fact that the past of tourism industry of Kashmir has been very glorious. But due to the disturbance in the region for more than three decades now, the tourism industry has been badly hit, thereby giving a great setback to the economy and thus adversely impacting the livelihood of thousands of households. But all is not lost as tourism on grassroots presents still a brighter outlook on ground zero. Kashmir News Bureau talked to local stakeholders, tourists and got positive pulse.

 

On the banks of world famous Dal Lake  Vijay Kumar Ohja , a retired Manager from Jalandhar while talking to the Kashmir News Bureau stated – “The hospitality in Kashmir is quite amazing and unbelievable. It is my first visit to this paradise and from Hotel to Shikrawala the hospitality of the people is amazing and they are cooperative everywhere. The tourists from India and other parts of the world should come with open heart and mind to Kashmir and see the gorgeous places out here and get to meet dashing and nice people of Kashmir. The negative propaganda over Kashmir needs to be shunned. Kashmir is not just a must see place but a complete package for nature lovers.”

Local stakeholders although present few grim worries but are overall optimistic about the larger picture. Mohammad Sultan, on the banks of Dal Lake, operating the Shikara from several decades while talking to The Kashmir News Bureau states – “The business this year so far is down due to upheaval in the Kashmir situation but we are hoping that the situation will normalize soon and the boom in tourism trade will return as we cannot forget the fact that tourism sector is the backbone of our economy and without flourishing tourism there are serious problems for many in Kashmir. A section of media doing negative propaganda about Kashmir harms our business and also I urge all people in Kashmir that we need to fill ourselves with positive outlook and be more hospitable towards tourists.”

On the other hand of the spectrum, tourists visiting Kashmir since long time are fully buoyant about the overall prospects.  Vikram Singh, a retired official from Chandigarh states – “I have been coming to Kashmir every year with friends and family every time  I find Kashmir offering me refreshing aura and people are overall so nice that one cannot express it in words . Let us all enjoy the beauty of Kashmir and we all citizens have our duty to ensure that Kashmir is peaceful and prosperous. The cooperation of people in Kashmir is unprecedentedly awesome and I hope the valley of Kashmir regains its status of being among the top destinations of the world.”

 

What tourists’ state especially on the conduct and hospitality factor of local Kashmiri populace augurs well for the prospect of overall tourism picture. The sane voices and commoners aptly suggest that peace is significant because we need a better world for our next generations. Every sagacious voice suggests that peace is important because we cannot just enjoy the benefits of the latest technological and scientific advancements only in times of peace but also the all-important sectors like Tourism will grow and our economy and society will move towards right direction.

 

 While as the local drivers associated with tourism too want a thriving tourism sector so that they too prosper. Tariq Ahmad, a driver while talking to the Kashmir News Bureau Stated – “We are no doubt seeing downslide in tourism business due to less flow as frequent occurrences of bloodshed do not augur well for Kashmir and we are hopeful that all parties and stakeholders take steps in right direction so that peace returns to Kashmir and with it the tourism sector also makes a comeback with bang. Peace in Kashmir is most needed for us the Kashmiris.” Undoubtedly, the tourism sector is facing some challenges in Kashmir but on ground zero it has many brighter prospective.