Kashmir Is Back In Favour For The City Tourist
20 March 2005
The Hindustan Times
Indore: It's northwards-ho for tourists from these parts this summer. Till recently, it was Kerala's famous backwaters, which were drawing tourists, but all of a sudden it is the Paradise on Earth - Jammu and Kashmir - that is beckoning the tourists. A sign perhaps that peace has returned to the Valley. The peak season for bookings has started and tours and travel agencies of Indore are already looking at an increase of 25 to 30 per cent in business this season. Says Hemendra Singh Jadon of Overseas Travels: 'Earlier people used to have second thoughts about going to Jammu and Kashmir but the situation has returned to normal there. This is reflected in our bookings, 55 per cent of which are for Jammu and Kashmir.' Frequent Travels and Cargo Private Limited managing director J S Walia who has already completed 40 per cent of their bookings for Jammu and Kashmir this season said: 'Last year 200 tourists went to Jammu Kashmir from here. This season we expect the number to be approximately 300.' It is not only individual couples but also groups and families who have confirmed their bookings to Jammu and Kashmir. Jose Travels' Marshal Parera is also expecting a hike of 70 per cent in their bookings this summer vacations. The excitement about visiting Jammu and Kashmir is natural. Says Rahul Tiwari (name changed) who is planning his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir along with his family, ' I always wanted to go there but the tension there prevented me. Presently I am pretty sure that it is safe to be there and our travel agents have also confirmed the situation with the tour operators'. The growing desire for travelling coupled with the introduction of cheaper fares by the various airlines has also led to this increase with more people trying out the various holiday packages. People are also taking advantage of the advance bookings which offer them discounts from airlines as also from the holiday resorts they intend to visit. This is one big reason that even off- season destinations like Goa are a big draw for Indoreans. Local travel agencies could expect a further growth in business as both Indian Airlines and Jet Air are in the process of introducing their Bombay-Bangkok and Bombay-Singapore flights by the end of this month.