J-K Tourism Picks Up After Shopian Protests

19 July 2009

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department says that the Shopian double rape and murder case slowed the tourist rush briefly. But the industry is once again showing signs of fast revival. Tourists are back in Kashmir, after a slight slump due to the Shopian flare-up, thousands of sightseers are pouring into the Valley once again. And many more have booked hotels and boathouses. The daily tourist arrivals have picked up to 3,000. 'Kashmir is beautiful and we really enjoyed it. I want to make a house here. It is a clean city. Madhya Pradesh is populated but this place has few people,' said a tourist from Indore, Monika Sharma. 'I like Kashmir for the first time, it is a good place. People are so helpful here, I think more people should visit Kashmir,' said another tourist Mansi. During the first week of June when the agitation over the Shopian rape and murder was at its peak, the rush declined from nearly 3,800 a day to 1,200. The sector is now relieved that the Government has defused the tension to some extent by arresting four cops including a Superintendent in the case. Officials say, so far 3.5 lakh tourists including 12,000 foreigners have made it to Kashmir. They are expecting 1.5 million arrivals this year but the recent violence in Shopian and Baramulla have been dampeners. 'We had good expectation this year but when strikes hit Kashmir, we got lesser numbers than we had hoped for. We are still grateful to people and hopeful the numbers will swell,' said Director, J-K Tourism Department, Farooq Ahmed Shah. Although the Shopian incident had put brakes on the tourist arrivals for a brief period of time, things have started to look up for people because they have developed tremendous stakes on the sector and peace, which brings visitors to Jammu and Kashmir.