Pitched by travel companies as the ideal destination for luxury weddings and honeymoons, J&K saw an uptick in domestic arrivals in the months after lockdown was lifted, with tourist inflow rising from 3,700 in January 2020 to 19,000 in January 2021. Overall, J&K also emerged as the preferred destination for Bollywood film makers to shoot in, with as many as 26 films being shot in in the region in January this year. On Monday, J&K LG Manoj Sinha also said the UT would soon get area specific tourism and film policies to promote the UT in the months ahead.
The government’s push has also seen private enterprise lap up the opportunity to promote J&K. Thomas Cook (India) Ltd’s Rajeev Kale said TCILstrategically positioned Kashmir’s rows of vibrant tulip gardens as an excellent alternative to Holland. “Kashmir has re-emerged strongly for India’s travellers and has been the top trending destination in India over the last 2-3 months,” he said.
Despite the recent surge in coronavirus cases, hotels and houseboats in J&K have also witness high occupancy in Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam as people look to celebrate a white summer.
With the tourism ministry pushing the cause of J&K’s verdant valleys and isolated, lush green golf courses, where travellers can spend peaceful weeks teeing off and enjoying laid back holidays away from the crowds, Yatra.Com’s Co-Founder Sabina Chopra, said direct flights to J&K from key cities like Ahmedabad and Bengaluru and metros has led to a 28% surge in booking enquires so far.
While Yatra anticipates a dip due to the rise in coronavirus cases, Chopra said J&K remains a popular go-to spot for tourists because of the rich experiences it offers, from adventure to wildlife and heritage tourism.
President SOTC Travel, Daniel D’souza also saiddomestic destinations like J&K, Andamans and Himachal Pradesh have witnessed high demands, with domestic leisure travel surging by 30% over February.