Ladakh the cold desert sees tourism boom

Even as the tourism sector is still on a revival path in the Valley, the Ladakh region is attracting a good number of visitors. Officials are expecting a record footfall this year as over 45,000 tourists visited Ladakh in May only. With three major festivals on the cards, the arrivals are expected to increase in summer when the region attracts the maximum number of tourists.
“We received 45,000 tourists in May only. We are hopeful that the arrivals this year would exceed last year’s number of 2.35 lakh,” said Assistant Director, Tourism, Tsering Angmo. She said three major festivals were being held in the coming months during which the arrivals were expected to witness an increase.
“There will be Sindhu festival from June 24 to 26, the Hemis festival on July 3 and 4 and a major Ladakh festival in September,” Angmo said.
The Hemis festival is famous for its mystic masked dance and usually attracts a good number of both domestic as well as foreign tourists.
Director Tourism, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah said the festivals would showcase the rich heritage and culture of Ladakh and would further boost the inflow of tourists to the region. The good flow of tourists to Ladakh comes at a time when the Valley is yet to witness a booming tourism season this year. The sector had taken a hit after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8 sparked protests.
While tourism has so far not fully bounced back, the government has taken several initiatives to attract back tourists. Tourism Department officials and private stakeholders had participated in travel marts across the country to bring back tourists.