The valley of Kashmir is very popular for its scenic beauty. The lovely valley is famous for its tourist spots, beautiful streams, river rafting, shimmering lakes, lush green gardens, orchards and pastures. These seem as a carpet with lofty mountains at its four corners. Kashmir valley is truly and important spot in the world map of tourism, but unfortunately the tourism sector in our valley is not growing too fast. If we look towards the tourism sector at the international level, it has emerged as one of the important industries because of its capital benefits.
It contributes 5.5 percent of the World GDP but in our valley it is not growing due to some illusions and dilemmas that are in the minds of people residing outside valley .They have a threat and confusion unnecessarily in their minds that there is violence and terror in Kashmir but I want to convey them a message that Kashmir is safe place for every one who can come here. Everything of Kashmir is symbol of hospitality and friendliness .The silent lofty mountains and the song of lakes creates an atmosphere of solace and comfort. The tourists who came here found themselves completely Puzzled by the ethnic profile of the people .Their friendly attitude and behavior , customs, beliefs and the peculiar identify of courtesy urged them to again and again. J&K in the only state in the country which has zero crime against tourists. Kashmir people never lost their sense of good hospitality and friendliness. They meet every tourist with blooming and smiling face. The tourists feel unexpected joy from everything Kashmiri. The foreign tourists make bulk of purchases of rugs, carpets, fur, leather goods, antiques and curie items. Domestic tourists from mainland India usually buy almonds, walnuts, cherry, apple, kangri, woolens, silk saries, female pheran and wood carving items. For these things in our valley there is Kashmir Government Art Emporium which really is an apex shopping centre for Kashmiri art and crafts.
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At all tourist spots we have accommodation facilities and cafeterias, guide facilities. But it is also a fact that we have inadequate infrastructure and fragmented market despite that we have lot but we have to manage it properly.
Kashmir is the 10th most unemployed state in India. Tourist sector has a lot of capacity for employment generation, as it is the fast growing industry and the tourists both foreign and domestic all contribute to the development of the economy of the area, provide employment to the people and afford opportunities to them to assimilate the best in the various and diverse cultures. There are substantial number of travel agencies in our valley, some approved by state government. These agencies have to keep professional standards on high level and to co-operate in the promotional activities of tourism so that more jobs can be created.
The governments of J&K has to do a lot for infrastructural development in tourism sector and it should be a priority sector so that tourism in Kashmir can get the desired development. Tourism department has to explore all tourist places in Kashmir as there still are numerous unexplored tourist sites in the Kashmir state.
Syed Uzma Ibrahim Central University of Kashmir