18 Oct 2017/ Wednesday
Kashmir’s Tulip Garden has been judged among the “Top five tulip destinations” in the world by the World Tulip Summit Society, Canada. The Tulip Garden received this recognition after competing with 17 countries including US, Japan, Turkey, Holland, UK and China in the 7th World Tulip Summit held in Canada’s capital city Ottawa on 7th October. Javed Ahmed Shah, former district floriculture officer, who participated in the summit, said the recognition being conferred on Kashmir’s Tulip Garden is a huge achievement for promotion of tourism. The Indian ambassador to Canada also tweeted about the recognition to our Tulip Garden. Kashmir’s Tulip Garden is being given an opportunity to participate in the festival next year. This will depict culture and heritage of Kashmir,” Shah said.
Kashmir, once synonymous with tourism, is now associated with the lack of it. This sector has been devastated by increasing militancy in the Valley, and modern industry as well as infrastructure development is virtually at a standstill. It is very unfortunate that Kashmir’s tourism has been hit badly for second year in a row amid continued unrest in the Valley. The Valley’s tourist destinations wear a deserted look. Just a handful visit the Dal lake, where shikaras mostly remain anchored. This year, only 10 per cent of the expected tourists came to Kashmir. There was a steep decline in tourist flow from July last year when militant commander Burhan Wani’s killing triggered five-month-long street protests. The locals should realise that militancy, repeated strikes, ATM loots, stone pelting incidents, negative videos on social media etc. are the reason for the deep mistrust created between tourists and Kashmir. Recently, six foreign tourists, including two women, who were returning from Kargil in a taxi where held hostage by the kashmiri locals, who accused them of braid-chopping. Such incidents further mar the image of Kashmir and therefore it comes as no surprise that twenty-five lakh people who are associated with tourism industry in Kashmir are absolutely hopeless and helpless at present.