SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Valley has failed to attract tourists for the past three years, despite the government spending more than Rs 5 crore on tourism promotion activities.
The highest number of tourist arrivals was in 2014, a year in which tourism was affected by the floods that broke out in September. Since the public uprising triggered by Burhan Wani’s killing in July 2016, the number has been only going down, reaching the lowest in 2017. As per figures released by the state government, Kashmir received more than 11 lakh tourists in 2014, but the number dropped to 4 lakh in 2016.
Since 2016, the government has sent officials on seven international tours for the promotion of tourism, spending about Rs 58 lakh on them. The tours have been made twice to London and once to Dubai, Turkey, Moscow, Austria, and Berlin.
“From none of these countries have there been any tourists to the Valley,” an official at the tourism department told Kashmir Reader.
The tourism department spent Rs 2.22 crore on making promotional films, mostly by production houses based outside the state. Rs 29 lakh was spent on the same through local production houses.
“These films were intended to change the wrong perception created by some segments of Indian media. The films were put on social media and it helped a lot,” the official said. “But there was continuous onslaught from Indian media, which blew out of proportion the situation in the Valley. It negated the effect.”
Apart from this, Rs 2.32 crore has been spent on promotional advertisements in newspapers published outside the state, while about Rs 18.57 lakh has been spent on promotional advertisements in local newspapers. According to an official, the advertisements were given to newspapers of those states which traditionally sent a good number of domestic tourists to the Valley.
As per the official documents, the revenue earned by the tourism department through its various business ventures has also gone down – from Rs 1.7 crore in 2014-15 to about Rs 70 lakh in 2017-18.