Bengal tour operators' help sought by Kashmir tourism

Kolkata: The recent unrest in Kashmir Valley has hit the state's tourism industry badly, its tourism director Mehmood Ahmad Shah said today and sought cooperation from tour operators in West Bengal in removing apprehensions from the mind of visitors.

"The tourism industry in Kashmir was going fine in the first half of 2016, but after the unrest started the tourism industry in Kashmir has been badly hit. We are here to assure the tour operators and tourists from Bengal that visitors are absolutely safe in Kashmir," he told reporters at the sidelines of a programme organised by Jammu and Kashmir tourism. 

"Even during this period of unrest in Kashmir, no tourist faced any kind of problem ... We need to remove the apprehensions from the minds of tourists and tour operators about Kashmir. There is a negative perception and we need to remove that," Shah said.

Tourism in Kashmir has suffered financial loss as the ongoing unrest in the Valley resulted in sharp decline of visitors. 

A key sector of state's economy suffered a huge loss due to the unrest which broke out on July 9 following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces a day earlier.

While around three lakh tourists had visited Kashmir between July and September last year, the tourist footfall in the Valley for the corresponding period of the current year has witnessed a sharp decline, official reports said.

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