KCCI concerned our downslide in inbound tourism

KCCI concerned our downslide in inbound tourism

SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday said that our state despite having huge tourism potential has been lagging far behind to push inbound tourist inflow a it is witnessing a significant downslide as compared to other states.
In a statement issued here president Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been unable to take advantage of the huge potential of the tourism sector.
“The inbound figures of tourists in 2017-18 are dismal in comparison to other states,” the statement said.
Adding that out of 73 lakhs tourists, only 13.1 lakh tourists have actually visited Kashmir and includes more than 2 lakh Amarnath bound yatri’s Cave. Around sixty lakh visitors are pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine and around 2-3 lakh visitors have visited Ladakh.
The fact remains that around 10 lakh tourists have visited Kashmir in the year 2017, around the same number were visiting Kashmir even more than thirty years ago.
He said that most of the States have been witnessing a steady double digit percentage growth in the number of inbound tourists, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing a downslide.
Even the number of pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine has witnessed a steady drop. From a peak in the year 2012 of around 103.9 lacs, the year 2017 only attracted 57.40 lacs pilgrims to Katra.
The statement added that Pilgrim tourism is a major component for tourist inflow for most of the States and Kashmir with a large number of Sufi Shrines and religious sites holds a huge untapped potential in this regard.
It added that government and Tourism Players putting their best efforts to attract tourists and limit the damages, frequent closure of the road link and exhorbitant air fares have dealt a serious blow to such efforts.
The State would also need to consider the sensitive nature of the tourism business and customize security considerations accordingly. Tourism cannot survive if tourists are made to undergo frequent frisking and travel restrictions.
The State Government has indicated its seriousness about the focus on Tourism by making several changes in the Department of Tourism.
The KCCI urges that, in view of the large number of people associated with the Tourism Sector, major policy changes are required for the revival of this sector. The Government would need to provide stability by assigning responsibilities for longer durations to efficient and competent officers and also to provide budgetary support at par with other tourist destination states.