Aharbal comes back to life
Nadia Farooq
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Tripling last year’s attendance projections: Officials; Several efforts have been set up since the destination has such great potential to attract tourists: Director of Tourism, Kulgam

Kulgam, July 3: South Kashmir’s Kulgam region is bustling with visitors as one lakh people have visited Aharbal, famous for its gushing waterfall and spellcasting mountains, in the previous six months.

The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir has made it his mission to visit each of the state’s 75 lesser-known tourist attractions.

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According to data obtained by the media, 97,309 people (including both tourists and residents) have visited the location since the beginning of the year.

Statistics show that 2,560 individuals came in January, 12,880 in February, 4,620 in March, 22,450 in April, 11,397 in May, and 43,402 in June.

Statistics show that over 80,000 domestic tourists have visited the location so far this year, and that number is expected to rise during the remainder of the year’s first half. Statistics show that out of a total of 97,309 visitors, “locals” made up the vast majority (80,121), followed by domestic visitors (17,179), and international guests (09).

The district administration of Kulgam, the Tourism Department of Kashmir, the Aharbal Development Authority, and the Forest Division of Kulgam have been actively promoting the area over the last two years, with the help of summer, autumn, and winter carnivals, sporting events, and social media.

The Deputy Commissioner of Kulgam, Dr. Bilal Mohi-Ud-Din Bhat (IAS), has been working hard to promote Aharbal and increase its tourism potential over the past two years. As a result, the number of tourists visiting Aharbal has increased by a factor of two in that time, and Bhat expects it to increase by a factor of three this year.

Several steps have been taken up by the tourism department to promote Aharbal and develop the tourism industry in Kashmir, according to Rehmat Maqbool, Assistant Director, Tourism Incharge Kulgam.

She claimed that the District Administration Kulgam’s efforts to promote the city of Aharbal via various channels (including social media, calendars, and pamphlets) had been successful.

The tourism industry is the government’s top priority, CEO of Ahrabal Development Authority (ADA) Galib Mohiuddin Shah said, and this year’s numbers are expected to skyrocket.

He also noted an increase in the number of international visitors.

He further said that around one lakh tourists, both local and international, have visited the area in the first six months.

at response to the problem of previous suicides at Aharbal, he said that they had strengthened the fence, instituted constant surveillance of the site, and sent in the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF). This has led to a dramatic drop in suicide rates in the region.

He said that although hiking is Aharbal’s main draw, the resort is also investing in expanding its dining choices, public services, and other infrastructure to meet the needs of its growing number of visitors.

“In collaboration with the district administration Kulgam and the tourism departments, we have organised winter carnivals to further promote this place and are striving to transform it into a year-round destination rather than just a seasonal spot,” Shah added.

He requested that people not litter and make use of trash cans to keep the area looking nice.

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