Following improvement in situation, the tourism industry is back on rails. From past sometime Kashmir has started receiving record number of tourists. The Union Territory administration too has been working tirelessly to attract more and more tourists. Besides, it has started developing hitherto unexplored tourist resorts within the Valley. However, developing tourism infrastructure in Kashmir while safeguarding the environment and ecology requires a balanced and sustainable approach. The region’s natural beauty and ecological diversity are key attractions for tourists, so it’s essential to protect and preserve these assets. The administration before embarking on any major tourism infrastructure project, should conduct a thorough Comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) to assess the potential environmental impacts. These assessments should identify risks and propose mitigation measures. It should also develop a comprehensive tourism master plan that outlines the region’s carrying capacity and sets limits on visitor numbers and infrastructure development. It is prime duty of the administration to identify and protect critical habitats, biodiversity hotspots, and ecologically sensitive areas from development, implement buffer zones around protected areas to minimize the impact of tourism activities. It should take all tourism stake holders on board and encourage the use of eco-friendly building materials and sustainable construction practices and guide these stake holders to design tourism infrastructures such as hotels and resorts to blend harmoniously with the natural surroundings.
Almost at all tourist destinations of Kashmir, waste management and pollution control are the two major issues. The administration should implement effective waste management systems that reduce, recycle, and properly dispose of waste generated by tourists and businesses and enforce strict pollution control measures to prevent water and air pollution.The massive rush of vehicles is adding to the pollution levels at these destinations and to tackle the issue the administration should invest in public transportation options, like electric buses to reduce the number of private vehicles on the road. Of late, the administration has taken some good decisions to encourage cycling in Srinagar. This should be encouraged at all tourist destination and steps should be taken to create pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.
The administration should also engage local communities in the tourism planning and development process to ensure that their needs and concerns are addressed and should promote community-based tourism initiatives that empower local residents and distribute economic benefits.
Tourism is one of the major economic activity in Kashmir, however, this activity should not hamper with the environment and ecology. In Gulmarg, the nearby forests have been made wastage dumps so is true about Pahalgam and Sonamarg. The concerned development authorities should ensure that such issues are tackled scientifically.
Sustainable tourism development in Kashmir should prioritize the long-term health of the environment and the well-being of local communities. By carefully planning and managing tourism growth with a focus on sustainability, the region can enjoy the economic benefits of tourism while preserving its natural heritage for future generations. Collaboration between government authorities, local communities, environmental organizations, and the tourism industry is essential to achieving this balance.