Kashmir witnesses lowest tourist arrivals in three years

Nearly 5 lakh tourists visit valley this year

SRINAGAR: Kashmir valley received lowest arrival of tourists this year compared to previous season, according to official data of tourism department.
In 2019, which saw adverse tourist advisory by the government in run up to the abrogation of Article 370 in August, saw nearly 5 lakh (4, 92630) arrivals. This includes both domestic and foreign tourists.
According to the data, 460,819 domestic and 31,811 foreigner tourists visited starting from January till November.
Thousands of tourists were evicted from the Valley after the government issued security advisory on August 2. This resulted in exodus of tourists as well as non-locals from the region.
According to the data available with Kashmir Reader, more than 12 lakh tourists arrived in 2017. This was followed by a dip in influx of tourists in 2018 when above eight lakh (841202) tourists visited the Valley. This includes 785,173 domestic and 56,029 foreigner tourists.
In the last three years tourist graph, the highest arrivals were reported in 2017 and lowest in 2019.
Chairman Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association Hamid Wangnoo told the Kashmir Reader that they did campaigns in domestic as well as international markets to draw tourists to Kashmir in 2018. This, according to him, resulted in an uptick in initial months of 2019 when the region witnessed growing footfall of tourists.
But the government’s security advisory to tourists hit the entire sector, Wangnoo said.
Similarly, Domestic Tour Operators Association said that prolonged internet shutdown spanning over four months has caused more problems to them.
“Internet is the basic source of our business to communicate with our clients, who want to visit Kashmir. It is a lifeline to our business without which we are crippled,” an office bearer of the association said.

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