Tourism in Kashmir breached records in 2022, with news reports suggesting that anywhere between 1.62 and 1.88 crore visitors came last year to the Union Territory—the highest number for the UT since Independence. The year 2023 might leave those milestones in the dust.
Gurez’s contribution to the overall tourism figures is still smaller than that of other destinations but it is rising; 2022’s estimates were around 50,000, but in 2023, one lakh tourists had visited the region by July. As fistful as these figures seem, when compared with Gurez’s native population (37,992 as per Census 2011), they portend a remarkable commercial and cultural reshaping, teed off originally by the Indian government’s abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. No wonder then that everywhere one goes—corner shops, tea stalls, army check posts—Gurezis respond to the perfunctory questions about how they are doing with head shakes and variations of the same answer: “So many tourists!”
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