Srinagar- A record 80 lakh tourists have visited Kashmir since January, the deputy commissioner’s office in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district has claimed.
“Kashmir is witnessing a ‘golden period of tourism’ as 80 lakh tourists have visited the UT in the past few months alone, breaking all the records of the past 20 years,” the Anantnag deputy commissioner’s office said in a tweet on Tuesday.
However, the figures quoted in the tweet are far from the actual number of tourists who visited Kashmir valley in the first five months of the calendar year.
According to officials in the tourism department, the number of tourists who have visited Kashmir this year is over nine lakh and is expected to cross the 10-lakh mark by the end of June.
“If we are talking purely about people who have come as tourists, the numbers have crossed nine lakh from January 1 to May 31,” an official of the department said on the condition of anonymity.
He said the infrastructure in the valley is not yet of the level to accommodate such a large number of tourists.
“We are talking about an average of 51,000 tourists every day. This is a little more than the listed bed capacity of all the hotels, guesthouses and houseboats in the valley,” the official said.
Ironically, the erroneous tweet by the Anantnag deputy commissioner’s office has skipped everyone’s notice as the official Twitter handles of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Union home ministry, Union tourism ministry, Jammu and Kashmir tourism department and Department of Information and Public Relations of the Union Territory have been tagged.
The tweet also had a collage that claimed that “the Union Territory administration has taken several steps to ensure that air traffic to Jammu and Srinagar airports grows unhindered in the future so that trade and tourism flourishes in Jammu and Kashmir”.
People associated with travel and tourism in Kashmir rubbished the claim, saying there is a dip in tourist arrivals after the recent spate of targeted killings of civilians in the valley by militants.
“The numbers of enquiries and bookings have declined in the wake of the civilian killings. There has been a sudden dip in our business, especially after the killing of a bank employee hailing from Rajasthan in Kulgam district,” Sheikh Basharat, a travel operator, said.
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