Tourism & Heritage
Jammu & Kashmir with its vast potential and growing economy has immense potential for the sustenance of the tourism industry. Tourism has historically remained an instrument of economic growth in the State of Jammu & Kashmir and has contributed a lot in developing the economy, particularly in Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. This sector has given jobs to a large number of people and generated economic activities especially in the tertiary sectors. Its impact is visible in service industry sectors of the State such as transport, hospitality, horticulture and small scale industry.
The tourism activities at a particular place are directly related to the arrival of tourists at that place. The more the arrival, the more economic activities get generated and make impact on the related sectors accordingly. So it is imperative that while studying the impact of the tourism sector on the economy of the particular regions, trends in tourist traffic needs to be analyzed vis-a-vis spending by the tourists. Tourist expenditure generates multiple effects on the service sector such as agriculture, horticulture, poultry and handicrafts.
Jammu & Kashmir is an important tourist destination and has been a place of attraction for tourists since centuries. The lush green forests, sweet springs, perennial rivers, picturesque alpine scenery and pleasant climate of Kashmir valley, has remained an internationally acclaimed tourist destination, whereas Jammu region is attracting a large number of pilgrim tourists and the important destination has been Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine at Katra.
Ladakh region, the moon land has been a much sought-after destination, especially for the foreign tourists and is famous for adventure tourism. The tourism tag has always placed the State of J&K in the limelight at the national level as well as international level. Besides, two Directorates of Tourism, one for the Jammu division and other for Kashmir division, 19 Tourism Development Authorities for main tourist destinations, J&K Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC), Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), J&K State Cable Car Corporation (JKCCC) and Royal Springs Golf Course, Srinagar are functioning for the promotion of the Tourism Sector in the State.
The Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir looks after the tourism activities in Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region and also regulates the tourist inflow and coordinates with the other related departments. The Directorate has the more important assignment of publicity and marketing the tourism potential of the State at national as well as globally, besides the huge pilgrim rush to Shri Amarnathji Cave.
The Directorate of Tourism Jammu takes care of the tourism of Jammu region and mainly regulates the pilgrim tourism arrivals in the region. JKTDC undertakes commercial activities like construction of accommodation facilities, running of cafeterias, restaurants and organization of the food festivals, tours and travel activities in and outside the State.
J&K Cable Car Corporation is responsible for construction of passenger rope ways and chairlifts in the State. Prestigious project (Gulmarg Gandola) is run by the Cable Car Corporation and has proved a good earner to the State exchequer and a big attraction for the tourists at the destination.
The responsibility of the Royal Springs Golf Course Society is to maintain the world famous Royal Spring Golf Course located in the foot hills of Zabarwan and banks of the Dal Lake. Golf course attracts golfers from all over the world. It is a stark reality that till late 1980s the State of J&K used to attract huge number of national as well as foreign tourists, but the tourism sector received a serious jolt with the outbreak of militancy in the year 1989.
The tourist influx declined considerably upto 2002 during which period the State heavily suffered in this sector due to militancy related incidents. The tourist rush in the year 1988 was recorded as the highest. The infrastructure created over the years suffered colossal damage, besides the destruction of the gardens and parks. With the improvement in the security scenario, the government made all possible efforts and took all possible steps for the revival of the tourism sector by raising the requisite infrastructure for restoration of the pristine glory of the places of the tourist attraction.
(Data Source: State of Environment Report, J&K, 2012-13)