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No one would jump into death well to visit picturesque Valley
Kashmir's tourism dies down with death of Indian tourist
5/8/2018 11:19:21 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, May 8: With the killing of a south Indian tourist due to stone pelting in Kashmir, the already dying sector of tourism in Valley has finally breathed its last now.
As per the experts in the field, the death of a tourist has come as a major blow for the tourist arrival in the strife torn Valley. Who would from now on from any place across the globe would endanger his life to explore the picturesque Kashmir valley?
As per the latest details coming to fore, the situation is going from bad to worse in terms of tourist arrivals in Kashmir Valley. The data reveals that there is mere 15 per cent occupancy, down from 70-80 per cent a year ago in Kashmir hotels and that the political uncertainty and continued violence has left no scope for this sector to witness any profits this year.
Earlier, the state government, in a bid to rejuvenate Kashmir's dying tourism sector, launched a new five-minute film to counter perceived "negative portrayal of Kashmiris" and highlight the hospitality offered by Valley locals to visitors. The video, Warmest Place on Earth, garnered over 1.5 million views on Facebook and 35 thousand views on YouTube in a little over 24 hours. It was released by the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti at a grand launch function in Srinagar attended by senior minister and top officials. There are even various campaigns launched by the department of tourism to rejuvenate it. However, repeated attempts seem to have been giving out least results.
On ground, the hotel owners say the situation hasn't changed at all on ground. According to them, their hotels continue to wear deserted looks with tourists not preferring to visit valley amid the hostile situation. "Hospitality is fine but what about the incidents of violence that continue to occur. There is curfew often imposed in old city and incidents of stone pelting too haven't witnessed that much decline that a tourist would feel safe to visit valley along with his family," says a travel guide based in Srinagar.
As per the reports, the 2017 year proved worst for Kashmir's tourism sector after 2016 that witnessed five month violence that resulted in the killing of 90 people.
According to figures from the government's tourism department, some 403,000 tourists visited the valley during the first four months of 2016, but only 181,000 tourists arrived during the same period this year - a drop of 56 percent.
Some 20 percent of the state's 12.5 million people directly or indirectly depend on tourism for their livelihoods.
Data compiled by the Indian Journal of Economics and Development in 2016 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 state government records also show that it has some 1 million artisans working in handicrafts sector, whose products are sold to the tourists, mainly as souvenirs.
Tourism accounts for 7 percent of the state's income and is considered an important sector of Kashmir's economy. The state government, as per official records, has spent over $ 1 million on promotional campaigns and advertising in the Indian and international media.
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