COVID-19 IMPACT ON TOURISM

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Tourism is a chief tool of financial progress around the sphere. It has proved its potential by emerging as the fastest growing industry in the current eras, contributing about 9 per cent to global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), also known as the ‘Paradise on Earth’, is among the world’s most important holidaymaker destinations, well known for tourism potential all over the world.
Jammu, also known as the ‘City of Temples,’ is an important destination for pilgrimage tourism. Some of the famous sites located here are Vaishno Devi Temple, Raghunath Temple and Bahu Fort, Manda Zoo, Sidhra Golf Course, Ranbireshwar Temple, Dogra Art Museum, Shiv Khori, Dudhadhari Mandir, Balidan Stambh, Raghunath Bazaar, Sheesh Mahal, Purmandal, Akhnoor Fort, Surinsar Lake, Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary, Baba Dhansar, Poonch Fort, Bhairo Baba Temple, Patnitop etc, which attract tourists from across the world.
Snuggled in the lap of Himalayas, Kashmir is an acclaimed tourist destination nationwide and worldwide tourist. Kashmir, the Jannat-e-Benazeer, with lavish green paddocks, has a tradition of confronting the utmost scenic scene dyed on any picture. Its snow-covered heights witness fine-looking tourist attractions, where newly-wed twosomes reverie of their quixotic commencements. Even in days when earth is fraught with deforestation, the valley breathes and claims its natural gratification. And it’s not incorrect if we say that Kashmir is the paradise on Earth and then link it with adores of Switzerland and the Alps. Dal Lake, Wular Lake, Anantnag, Nishat Garden, Shalimar Garden, Chashma Shahi, Jama Masjid, Amaranth cave, Mughal gardens and mountain resorts as Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg are among the foremost lures. Generosity and sightseeing are, in fact, a part of Kashmir valley’s custom, ethos, and commercial development – through horticulture and agriculture employs people across the valley. Its enormous natural beauty and landscape, pleasant weather, and rich heritage have been among the most preferred tourist destinations for over centuries. Rovers from every nuke and corner of the domain are enjoying a holiday in Kashmir (Srinagar).
Nonetheless, the truth can be far-off from what we contemplate. It has just endured the mess to discourse about in records and on television shows. At this moment, due to outbreak of COVID-19, the economic situation of Jammu and Kashmir has depreciated. Trades are suffering, labourers are work-less, tourism is wholly at a halt, and largely the budget has become motionless. Tourism used to be the prime foundation of revenue here in J&K. Thousands of individuals on a day-to-day foundation used to gross their breathing through this process. Initiating from China, the first case of COVID-19 plague in India was testified on 30 January 2020. Slowly, the pandemic spread to various states and union territories, including Jammu and Kashmir. Whatever happened in 2020 is continuing in this year; it undeniably had a life-changing effect on J&K Union Territory individuals. Due to COVID-19, the tourism industry’s service defeat is forecast to be 100.08 Million wide-reaching. The epidemic has not only exaggerated economically but as well as diplomatically and communally. As the number of diseased cases expanding all over the realm, and with the execution of firm actions and campaigns like social distancing, community lockdowns, work from home, stay at home, self- or mandatory-quarantine, curbs on crowding, etc., pressure is bent for halting the tourism industry/business. This variation in the contemporary structure has led to stagnation and downheartedness, pursuing a transformational change in civilization.
It has been assessed that practically 50-60 per cent of overall inhabitants of J&K are directly and indirectly engaged in tourism-associated deeds. Tourism subsidizes about 15 per cent to State Gross Domestic Product (SGDP). Approximately the extent of profits generated by tourism primarily in Taxes, Foreign exchange, Export earnings is more than Rs.3,000 crore (Expert Group Report-2011, GoI) which is predicted to rise when the situation in the state comes to its normal locus.
The strength of J&K tourism is healthier when compared to other states. Some of the major aspects responsible for the vast potential of tourism in J&K, as it is a well-known tourist destination for its boundless kindness, rich folk inheritance and picturesque beauty. It is an appropriate destination for several other types of tourism which are yet to be subjugated, like Adventure tourism, Medical tourism, Eco-tourism, Polo tourism and Leisure tourism. Handicrafts of J&K like Pashmina Shawl & Paper machinery are globally famed. Famous Kashmiri cuisine, ‘Wazwan,’ with its unmatched taste, is a foundation for the fascination of every visitor.
So what needs to be done here? Govt has now boosted lockdown constraints. Precautions need to be taken in terms of cleanliness, sanitization and to keep COVID at bay. Social distancing and other forms of laid down actions need to be carried out into use. Holiday business is a never-ending corporate sector, and earlier or far along, it will blossom once more. But we must envisage the illness of deprived people and plan a holiday at these dwellings instantly after the nation’s situation converts to its standard spot. As for the native trades, they need to be tranquil, tolerant and optimistic. Keeping an affirmative audacity at this time will help in long course.
Sunidhi Mahajan