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news details
'Cafes, Restaurants in Sgr abuzz with several tourists visiting city from across the country'
Thousands of tourists opting to visit JK UT for holidays
2/22/2021 11:22:52 PM

Ishtiyaq Ahmad
EArly Times Report

Srinagar, Feb 22: Tourist influx is gradually increasing at several tourist resorts in the Jammu and Kashmir Union territory which was earlier affected during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to early times on Monday, an officer from tourism department said, “Since the onset of snowfall in the valley in the months of November and December last year, there has been a gradual increase in the number of tourists in the Kashmir valley. Talking about Pahalgam, Gulmarg there has been a gradual increase in tourism for the last 10 days."
"If the rush of tourists continues till February end in the valley, it can break the record of last three years. I hope that tourists continue to visit this beautiful valley of ours," the official said.
Many children opted to ride a pony to enjoy the scenic view of the valley. Several pony wallahs were offering rides to tourists just outside the resorts.
Atul Sharma, who felt excited to ride a pony told early times, "I have come from Haryana to visit Kashmir valley. We are staying at a resort in Pahalgam. Many of my friends opt to travel abroad enjoy snowfall. But now, I request them to visit this Kashmir valley instead."
"I and my family are staying in Pahalgam. Spending on international travel is too costly. Hence, we opted to visit this Kashmir valley. We like it," said Joti sharma, another tourist.
Apart from resorts, the hotel businesses too registered a huge influx in tourism.
Muneer Ahmad, a hotelier said, "Many people have this notion that Pahalgam area is unsafe due to a few attacks. I want to assure them that this valley is completely safe. All the tourists are welcome here. In the past few days, we have registered a growth in our business due to the influx of tourists."
The tourism sector in Kashmir witnessed major setbacks for the last two years due to the lockdown in the valley after the removal of Article 370 in 2019 and in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the beginning of this year looks promising for the Kashmir tourism industry as many tourists flocked to the valley in large numbers to witness snowfall.
"After a long time, valley has witnessed good number of tourists during the winter season. Travel to Europe seems like a distant reality due to Covid, which makes Kashmir the preferred holiday destination with very low cases. Recently, valley has been blessed with snowfall, which gives more of a reason for tourists to visit this place. We have ensured that all Covid-19 guidelines are being followed for safety. We are hopeful and are looking forward to a great year ahead of us," said one of the top hoteliers here in Srinagar.
The cafes and restaurants in the Srinagar are abuzz with several tourists visiting the city from across the country.
The two back-to-back year of setbacks have delivered a major economic blow to the tourism sector in Kashmir. Estimates suggest that the Kashmir tourism sector lost around Rs 1,100 crores in just one year.
In 2019, there was a sharp dip of around 34 per cent tourist inflow due to removal of Article 370 and subsequent lockdown. Meanwhile, 2020 saw negligible tourism due to Covid-19 pandemic.
A couple from Maharashtra said that they visited Kashmir for their "honeymoon" as it "felt like the best place to visit" during coronavirus pandemic.
Another couple from Gujarat said they are elated to be in the valley in the month of February. "It has been such an enjoyable vacation for us. Whatever we have heard of Kashmir, there is way more than that in terms of beauty. We are happy we chose this place to come," Vikram, who visited Dal Lake with wife after his recent marriage, from Gujarat said.
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