Kashmir's Gondola Cable Car To Get Facelift

Kashmir's Gondola Cable Car To Get Facelift

11 August 2012
The Hindustan Times


Srinagar: The Department of Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir is undertaking a facelift of the Gondola Lift to boost tourism in the state. The Kashmir Valley attracts foreign tourists and the Gondola in Srinagar is Asia’s highest and longest cable car – about 3980 meters above sea level -, which had been generating revenue in millions every year. Recently, however, the place has been suffering from poor maintenance. The Director of Kashmir Tourism, Talat Parvez, said the gondola renovation would benefit tourists and also provide employment to locals. “Because number of people visiting gondola increase day by day, so the chief minister wanted that the tourists who are our guests, should be contented and happy to visit the place,” said Parvez. “They should enjoy their visit and get full breathing space, there should be a waiting area where they can sit comfortably and wait for their turn to get on the ride. There should also be an orientation program to tell them about other places to visit in the valley,” he added. “They should be briefed about the technical know how of the cable car. There should be some tourism campaign about Kashmir while they are waiting. All these things should be conducted in a decent manner. More restaurants should be constructed to facilitate the tourists,” said Parvez. After the renovation, amenities like food courts, shopping stall and a reception centre would be made where tourists can wait for their turn and get information about the various tourist spots in the valley. Tourism is one of the biggest means of earning for the people of the state. It is said that 60 percent of Kashmiri’s bank on tourism. Sonal, a tourist from Mumbai, said the place needs to be more tourists friendly. “We have seen other places where these kinds of facilities are offered, and being an Indian, I definitely would want better infrastructure,” she said. Kashmir was once a top Asian tourism destination, popular among honeymooners, skiers, trekkers and anglers, and attracting about a million tourists a year until 1989, when a simmering anger against New Delhi's rule burst into a violent rebellion. And the numbers of visitors shrunk to only a few thousand a year. However, with peace being restored in the province, the flow of tourists has increased, which will in turn help to revive the lost glory of this tourist hub Tourism returned in force to Kashmir in 2005 as violence fell after India and Pakistan began a peace process. Some 600,000 people visited the scenic region, most of them Indians Indeed, planeloads of India's upwardly mobile middle classes have visited the picture postcard-perfect Kashmir Valley this summer, making it the busiest tourist season since the armed revolt began in 1989.