Srinagar- The successful G20 working group meeting held here in May this year has contributed to a 700% increase in foreign tourist arrivals in Kashmir, with over 30647 foreigners’ mainly from Europe and Middle East having visited the valley as of August 31.
The enhanced tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said, has led to a significant increase in the employment in the federally governed territory, underscoring the government’s untiring developmental efforts.
In addition to participating in international trade fairs, the Department of Tourism J&K has also prepared a master plan to promote 75 new tourist destinations to draw more and more foreign visitors to the valley.
A senior official in the Tourism department told Kashmir Observer that the valley recorded 700 percent rise in foreign tourist arrivals, as 30647 foreigners visited the valley till August 31 this year against 4028 till December 2022.
Of the 30647, the majority of the tourists, who visited Kashmir valley this year, belong to Europe, Thailand, Malaysia and the Middle East, he said.
The tourism players in Kashmir have also expressed satisfaction over the surprising number of foreigners having visited the valley this year.
It may be in place to mention that the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha recently stated that 1.27 crore tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir this year, which he said was far higher than the previous year’s figure.
The successful G20 summit and the government’s unwavering efforts, according to Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCC&I) Chairman, Javid Tenga were the important factors in the record-breaking arrival of 30647 international tourists to Kashmir.
Speaking to Kashmir Observer, KCC&I Chairman said since the ground situation in Kashmir has improved to great extent, tourists are expected to arrive in hordes, besides, he said the unwavering efforts by the government and successful G20 meeting led to the huge footfall of foreign tourists to the valley.
“I represented KCC&I during the G20 working group meeting and urged the delegates to impress upon their respective governments to remove travel advisories to Kashmir. The valley has witnessed the significant change in the last few years that encouraged foreigners to move to Kashmir. We expect more and more foreign tourists to visit the valley,” he added.
President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo appreciated the UT government’s efforts in reviewing tourism industry in Kashmir, saying the valley has witnessed record arrival of foreign and domestic tourists in the last few years and that the people associated with tourism anticipate more and more tourists in the years to come.
“Not only G20, but the government’s tireless efforts, I must say, boosted the tourism industry in Kashmir over the past few years and I hope tourists from Europe and other nations will move to Kashmir in hordes,” he said.
Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, Chairman Houseboat Owners Association told Kashmir Observer that there has been a considerable shift on the ground, when it comes to foreign tourist arrival in Kashmir.
“In the upcoming years, we anticipate a record increase in tourists to help J&K recover from the losses it suffered in the last 35-years,” Pakhtoon said.
He said that the valley has grown to be one of the most popular tourist attractions of the world, following a successful G20 working group meeting.
Not only the tourism industry, Pakhtoon said huge tourist arrival in Kashmir has benefited hoteliers, restaurant owners, cab drivers and shopkeepers as well.
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