90 per cent tourists left Kashmir Valley, post crisis

The ongoing unrest in the Valley resulted in sharp decline of visitors. Tourism in Kashmir has suffered financial loss as tourist arrivals have gone down from 12,000 to 250 per day and hotel occupancy is around 3 per cent. Tourism department official said, more than 90 percent tourists have left the Valley.

They added, the tourism industry in Kashmir has suffered an estimated loss of Rs. 3,000 crore because of the ongoing crisis in the state, Hotels in the public and private sector are the worst affected, with many of them struggling with zero occupancies. Film crews scheduled to shoot in Kashmir too have canceled their plans because of the current situation and have moved to other locations like Ladakh or Himachal Pradesh.

Currently, the Valley has become a stopover destination for tourists who visit Ladakh and reach Srinagar to catch a flight back to New Delhi. Only 10,059 tourists visited the Valley between August 1 and August 12 this year, compared with 89,243 last year.

Official figures reveal that 2, 16,252 tourists arrived in Jammu and Kashmir from January 1 to March 18 this year against 82,376 in the corresponding period last year. The arrivals include 5,524 foreigners against 4,494 in the corresponding period last year. Unofficial figures reveal that so far over 3.5 lakh tourists had visited the valley alone. It excluded over 1.03 lakh Amarnath yatries who visited the valley in the first seven days of the yatra.

As the industrial sector is not very much developed in the state, the tourism industry plays an important role in the development of all the regions of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. The on-going situation of insurgencies and cross-border firing following the surgical strike done by Indian forces after Uri attack in October has created a tense environment in the state, which has hit the tourism department severely.

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