Tourist Arrival Fails To Pick Up After Advisory Lifted

SRINAGAR – Two months after the travel advisory was lifted in October, the official figures about tourist arrival have painted a dismal picture as footfall has dropped to almost 90 per cent compared to last year.

Official figures suggest that in December last year, 90,000 tourists were present in Kashmir, majority of whom participated in the tourism carnival at world’s famous ski resort—Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonmarg resorts.

“Travellers are showing very little interest in visiting Kashmir,” said Abhishek Kumar, a travel agent based in New Delhi.

He said despite the fact that travel advisory has been lifted by the government; very less tourists are interested in visiting Kashmir given the internet blockade and ban on pre-paid phone services.

Ashutosh Bhat, another travel agent based in Mumbai said that business in Kashmir is very slow, both for Indian and foreign travelers.

“Even if you compare the figures with the last year, there were 80,000 tourists present in Kashmir in the month of December many of whom celebrated New Year carnival at Gulmarg. At present, there is not more than 10 per cent flow of tourists to Kashmir,” Bhat said.

He said that they are actively advertising about Kashmir but queries and overall response is very less.

A tourism official in Srinagar said that despite advertising packages and offers for the tourists, there is a little response.

“We are not able to do the proper advertising given the internet gag. Though there are a few computers with internet facility available at the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), but timing for a user is limited,” said the official on the condition of anonymity.

He said that tourism department is planning to dole out mega packages and offers on the eve of Christmas on December 25 and the New Year, and that there was a hope that tourist influx may increase from December 25 onwards. (KNO)

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