October 2019 News

Tourist Arrivals Decline By 90% This Year

13 October 2019
Brighter Kashmir

Srinagar: Tourism Sector was badly hit after the abrogation of Article 30 as no tourists arrived after August 5 in Kashmir Valley. Director Tourism Nisar Ahmed said that this year up to September over 5 lakh tourists arrived in Kashmir Valley. These five lakh tourists arrived in Valley till ending July while from the first week of August; no domestic or foreign arrivals were reported in wake of Government Advisory that asked tourists to leave Kashmir. Reliable sources said that even though government has lifted the advisory barring tourists from visiting Kashmir, yet, there is no flow in tourist arrivals. Communication clampdown is the major factor that has been keeping tourists away from Kashmir Valley. This year, both domestic as well as foreign tourist arrivals in Kashmir have dropped considerably in wake of the prevailing uncertainty. Before the 2016 uprising in the Valley, the domestic tourist arrival in the year was highest in four years. At least 12,745,96 domestic tourists had visited the Valley before Burhan's killing and outbreak of unrest. After the killing of Burhan on July 6, 2016 and subsequent unrest, the domestic tourist arrivals dropped from 12,745,96 to 7,85,173 in last three years. Deputy Director Tourism (Planning) revealed that in 2016, at least 12,745,96 tourists had visited Valley while the figure stood 11,960,67 in 2017. According to the official, 2018 was worst hit in terms of domestic tourist arrivals as only 7,85,173 domestic tourists visited Kashmir. This figure was revealed by Deputy Director Tourism (Planning) in a reply to Right to Information (RTI) application filed by RTI activist M M Shuja. However, the official disclosed that arrival of foreign tourists to Valley has increased in last three years. In 2016, at least 24,516 foreign tourist arrivals had visited Kashmir and the arrivals witnessed 29 percent rise in 2017 with 31,697 foreign tourists travelling to the Valley. In 2018, 31,413 foreign tourists visited Kashmir, marking 130 percent rise in arrivals. Pertinently, the Tourism department, Kashmir has spent over Rs 5 crore on road shows and other events of the Rs 15.05 crore allocated to Tourism department, Kashmir, from the budgetary package under the Prime Minister's package for improvement of tourism infrastructure. The road shows by the Tourism department in different parts of India have failed to improve domestic tourist arrivals in the State. The unplanned road shows are being seen as 'waste of public exchequer' by the Tourism Department.