COVID-19 cripples Tourism sector in Jammu & Kashmir

Houseboats awaiting business in Dal Lake Srinagar
Houseboats awaiting business in Dal Lake Srinagar

SRINAGAR — The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 has badly hit Tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir. There are no tourists at present in the Valley owing to the lockdown.

The COVID-19 related lockdown that was implemented by the government in Jammu and Kashmir in May last month has virtually crippled the Tourism industry in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Valley.

“All my houseboats are wearing a deserted look. There is nothing to earn as there are no tourists. We are struggling for survival,” Farooq Ahmed Katroo said.

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Farooq owns ‘Best View Resorts’ – a beautiful island in the middle of the world-famous Dal Lake.

He said tourists from different parts of the world, especially France and Italy, used to visit his houseboats but this time, all the houseboats are empty.

“COVID-19 pandemic has badly hit every sector in Kashmir Valley. Before the lockdown, there was tourist boom in Kashmir. Large number of tourists visited here and it seemed this year, things will be different, but God decided something else,” Katroo said.

Muhammad Rafiq, a Shikarawalla, said he prefers to do some other jobs instead of rowing a Shikara. “There are no tourists and nobody is interested these days to visit Dal Lake, owing to the grim situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

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Director Tourism said that they are expecting things to get better in future. “We had an outstanding tourism season prior to COVID-19 induced lockdown. It’s not only in Kashmir, but the whole world is suffering these days. We can only hope for the best,” he said.

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