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Kashmir tourism boom: Infrastructure strained as visitors flock in.

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Kashmir tourism boom: Infrastructure strained as visitors flock in.
The incomparable splendour of Kashmir is enticing travellers from all over the nation and the world, but the local infrastructure is finding it difficult to keep up with the influx of visitors.

Srinagar: The incomparable beauty of Kashmir and the improved security situation are luring tourists from all over the world to this part of the country, but the local infrastructure is finding it difficult to keep up with the influx of visitors.

Travellers are pouring into the valley to witness its legendary beauty, from the crystal-clear waters of Dal Lake in Srinagar to the snow-capped peaks of Gulmarg in north Kashmir.

There is an endless supply of cars on the roads that go to well-known hill towns like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonamarg. These cars are driven by enthusiastic tourists who are keen to see the beauty of these breathtaking places.

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Local infrastructure, however, built for a far smaller population, has been collapsing under the strain. Previously able to handle a moderate influx of guests, hotels and guesthouses are now booked up months in advance.

Overnight, improvised hotels have appeared, frequently devoid of basic facilities, leaving travellers unhappy and ruining their vacations. Systems for managing waste, which were not intended for such high volumes, are tested. Conservationists expressed alarm about the abrupt surge’s effects on the environment and called for sustainable approaches to protect the area’s natural beauty.

Political unrest and security issues had caused ups and downs for the Kashmiri tourism sector for many years. Owners of houseboats, who had endured hard years, are thrilled to see their guest services operating at maximum capacity.

According to houseboat owner Shahid Ahmad, every room on every houseboat is currently reserved. “Those who need to reserve houseboats should do so at least one month in advance because we are fully booked,” he stated.

He grinned widely and remarked, “Never in my life have I seen such a rush,” while preparing his guests’ customary Kashmiri breakfast.

Additionally, hotels were seeing an unheard-of increase. There were ‘No Vacancy’ signs everywhere, from opulent resorts with views of the breathtaking Himalayas to charming guesthouses in the middle of the city.

The manager of a well-known hotel in Gulmarg, Tariq Dar, observed that reservations had been made months in advance. He said, “We’ve had to turn away dozens of potential guests each day.” “Having this problem is a good thing after the difficult years we’ve had.”

Hotel rates have also increased in line. Once only costing a few thousand rupees a night, a room in a mid-range hotel is now being rented out for a small fortune. Handcrafted trinkets, pashmina shawls, and saffron vendors reported record sales. There are so many people waiting to try real Kashmiri food that even the neighbourhood restaurants are overflowing.

Prices have skyrocketed, as was predicted given the surge in demand. There was a sharp spike in airfares to Srinagar, with some flights costing more than twice as much as usual. Those looking for last-minute discounts were going to be shocked.

But the promise of a dream vacation and Kashmir’s natural beauty drew travellers in despite the high prices.

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