Tourism is one of the biggest industries of the Kashmir Valley and it has been incurring losses in crores due to the pandemic. However, now that the covid positive patients are decreasing in the valley, the tourism department along with the health department are on a mission to vaccinate each individual related to this industry.
Special vaccination drives are being done for the tourism stakeholders in the valley — around 80 per cent people in the city and 90 per cent in the hill stations such as Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonmarg — have been vaccinated.
"We are expecting the situation to improve and things to come back to normal. Cases are coming down and we are expecting in the near future there will certainly be a revival of tourism sector again, and for that we have already planned an action plan which is going for 100 per cent mass vaccination of our stakeholders and the staff and similarly we will also be giving a lot of training to our stakeholders — be it hoteliers, shikara wala's, pony wala's and houseboat owners — and that is the way we carry forward tourism season successful", said G N Itoo, Director Tourism.
The tourist stakeholders in the valley are extremely happy about these vaccination drives. They believe it will send across a positive message across the world that Kashmir is safe to travel.
''Unfortunately, the second wave of covid is hectic and all the stakeholders are under lockdown, and it hit us very badly. You can say it was unfortunate and bad luck for the sector. We are hoping in the coming time it may pick up.
The tourism department has started mass vaccination and every tourism player has to go through this drive, they have to vaccinate themselves. You will feel safe and secure, the tourists will feel confident to come here, we have to be ready and vaccination is one such thing,'' said Manzoor Pakhtoon from United Tourism Forum.
Now, these tourist players are waiting for the lockdown to be lifted so that they can welcome the tourists again in the valley.