Permission has not been granted by the state government for construction or repair works in Kashmir, in touring destinations of Pahalgam and Srinagar since 2009. The Kashmir valley is witnessing a huge crisis in the tourism infrastructure in the last couple of tourist seasons. The influx of tourists is getting larger and Kashmir is faced with crisis as it is unable to offer hotels and accommodations to the huge number of tourists.There has been an increase in the number of tourists visiting the scenic valley, which rose from 10.02 million in 2010 to 12.24 million in 2011. A major part of the increase in the number of tourists is accounted by the number of foreigners that has inflated to sixty eight thousand in 2011 from forty six thousand in 2010. The number of tourists visiting Jammu & Kashmir created a new record with the number of tourists touching 14 lakhs, in which 1275000 were domestic while the remaining were foreigners. It was the most successful year so far in the history of tourism in the state. The official estimates hold that Kashmir is visited by around 4000 or 5000 tourists in a day. This number further doubles during the season of pilgrimage to Amarnath, the holy shrine.
With the improvement of the situation, the state government held consultation with the union tourism ministry and this not only caused the tourists but also Bollywood to return. The Director of the department of tourism in Jammu & Kashmir, Talat Parveez, has pointed out the fact that the present occupancy in Srinagar is 80% while that in Pahalgam, Sonmarg, and Gulmarg “is almost full”. In spite of the curfew and the 30-day strike, following hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru on February 9, this year inside the Tihar Jail in Delhi, the state government remains optimistic about the tourists visiting the state. The state believes that more such records should be created in the present year.
What the tourists mostly complain about is the lack of proper facilities at the accommodation as compared to the other tourist destinations. The management of such hotels and accommodations that are privatized are beyond the control of the government and hence are fixed at sky-reaching prices. The prices of the budget hotels have also risen up to double, while the flight costs have tripled. The time taken for traveling to South East Asia is the same as that taken from Delhi to Kashmir.
Proper accommodation lacked such smaller towns as Gulmarg, which was chosen as the “All Season Destination of the World” by PATWA last year. The ski resort holds a capacity of 1400 rooms whereas Gulmarg receives more than 10000 tourists in the peak touring season. Another much famous holiday resort is Pahalgam in south Kashmir. This also offers the way to the pilgrimage at the Amarnath. There are over fifteen hundred rooms, but they are insufficient to hold the millions of pilgrims who stay in the tents on the banks.