Winter is coming to Jammu and Kashmir, heralding another white Christmas, and winter sports, unique among this entire region. Winter snows and slopes of Gulmarg and Pahalgam, and much of the valley, remain unparalleled among destinations stretching from the Middle-east to the East; their pull remains legendary. So, for domestic and international travellers, alike, it is the time to look ahead to winter tourism in the state.
The year has been unkind, to say the least, to the valley, especially to its people and also for tourism. There were hopes for tourism and travel with the onset of the new year, but they were all belied as the valley witnessed continued political unrest, impacting every business opportunity.
Tourism has, over the years, been a major economic resource for the average Kashmiri. Whether it is through Kashmir’s famed handicrafts, shikaras, taxi service, or through a large number of small and medium sized hotels and lodges, tourism remain intrinsically important for the sustenance of the local economy.
With winter around the corner, one hopes for better months ahead for tourism in the state, especially when ground reports suggest that militancy and is coming under better control.
Reliable sources indicate that the average local is also looking for change, looking beyond the stalemate we had witnessed during the earlier part of the year. Economic development, getting the children back to school, and giving the average local a semblance of normalcy in their lives -tourism is a common denominator!