Amid tourism boom, government to revive ‘stay-at-homes’ in Kashmir to avert lack of space

All hotels, houseboats, guesthouses booked in advance; those who had closed the hotel business by relaunching it; Record number of tourists arriving in the Valley: Secretary of Tourism Sarmad Hafeez; indicates guidelines issued to development authorities, SMC to ensure waste management

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government plans to revive home stays in Kashmir amid tourism boom to avert lack of space as all hotels, lodges and guesthouses are booked for next two month.

In the past four months, 700,000 tourists visited Kashmir, breaking the record for the past ten years. This year, March saw 1.80 lakh visitors, the first time in the past decade. Speaking to News Agency – Kashmir News Observer (KNO) exclusively, J&K Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez said the huge influx of tourists continues and all hotels, lodges and guesthouses are currently booked and have advance reservations for at least the next two months.

“We are happy to see that the locals who had closed their hotel are relaunching it once again. Many people who had closed their hotel due to losses are opening it again. Those who have opened their hotels have huge bookings,” Hafeez said. He said the government plans to relaunch stay-at-home stays for which new guidelines are being developed and will be released shortly.

“Homestays were a major attraction for tourists in the early 70s and 80s. We are trying to revive it with a view to increasing tourist numbers,” he said. “We are also increasing room capacity in resorts and tourist destinations to avoid lack of space. We closely monitor the number of tourists and accordingly measures to welcome them are being taken in collaboration with various development authorities. “In Srinagar, SMC has been instructed to deploy more men to ensure that gardens and other tourist spots are properly cleaned and waste is managed in accordance with scientific management,” he said.

Asked whether tourist visitation has posed many challenges such as traffic congestion in cities and tourist destinations in addition to waste management, the Tourism Secretary said various development authorities were paying particular attention to cleanup. rubbish left by tourists. “A proper waste disposal system is being followed and more people have been put on duty to keep tourist resorts clean. Guidelines have been posted on signs at various tourist destinations asking tourists not to litter and not to dirty the resort,” he said.

On the traffic congestion, officials told KNO that there has been a 100% increase in car traffic due to huge tourist arrivals. “Srinagar is seeing the biggest influx of tourists as the number of vehicles increases. The traffic department has been advised to deploy more manpower at crucial junctions to facilitate the transportation of tourists by the vehicles,” said Hafeez—(KNO)

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