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Spike in Kashmir’s tourist arrival sends Pro-Pak stooges in tizzy
After decades of desolation, picturesque resorts crowded with excursionists
11/17/2020 11:46:51 PM
EARLY TIMES REPORT

JAMMU, Nov 17: What could send the anti-nationals into tizzy is the overall change in the situation on ground with tourist arrival witnessing a spike with people heaving a sigh of relief after decades of strife.
The tourist resorts in Kashmir after decades are overcrowded with tourists. These are the same places that so far were desolated with people associated it with the trade pinning hopes that the prevalent normalcy will help them earn livelihood again.
“We were not expecting such a rush of people that too when COVID is there. But the arrival of the tourists is revealing one fact and that is the normalcy is returning to the Valley and we were waiting for it,” says a travel operator based in Srinagar.
According to the official figures, 23,936 tourists have arrived in Kashmir this year with October and November witnessing the maximum number of footfall.
In October, around 2,592 tourists arrived in Kashmir that include 2,557 domestic and 35 foreigners.
Similarly, till 15 November, 2,338 tourists have landed in the Valley including 2317 domestic and 21 foreigners.
Some 20 percent of Kashmir's 12.5 million people directly or indirectly depend on tourism for their livelihoods. Data compiled by the Indian Journal of Economics and Development show that 425,000 people are directly dependent on tourism for their income. They include management and employees of hotels, houseboats, guest houses, restaurant dormitories, and tent houses. A further 2.1 million Kashmiri people indirectly depend on tourism, such as taxi drivers, shopkeepers, vendors, and fruit sellers.
The government records also show that it has some 1 million artisans working in the handicrafts sector, whose products are sold to the tourists, mainly as souvenirs.
It is pertinent to mention that tourism accounts for 7 percent of the region's income and is considered an important sector of Kashmir's economy.
Furthermore, there had been a dip of 53 percent in the tourist footfall as compared to that of the previous years. Earlier, total of 67181 tourists visited the valley in April 2017. In 2018, the number during this period was 142761.
The government figures reveal that 403442 tourists visited the valley in the first four months of 2016 (till April 31) as compared to 181102 during the corresponding period this year, marking a sharp dip of 56 percent. The tourist footfall was even higher (290154) in April 2015 notwithstanding the fact that the valley had witnessed devastating floods a few months back.
As per official records, has spent Rupees four crore over its promotional campaigning during the past two years. The department has spent Rs 3.86 crore on advertisements in Indian and international media, including newspapers, magazines, and travel journals, to promote the state’s tourism sector.
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