Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir is all set to roll- out the red carpet for tourists again.
Tourism activities were suspended after the lockdown in March. In July, the government had issued guidelines for tourists intending to visit Kashmir. However, the plan did not take off as expected.
Now, when everything is getting back to normal, the tourism department is bracing up for the coming autumn and winter tourism seasons. The department has made it mandatory for the tourists to travel by air and have their RTPCR tests done before arriving at Srinagar airport.
“The department is working hard to ensure good tourism seasons. Our online campaigning has begun and in the first phase the tourists have been asked to use air transport only,” an official of the tourism department said.
As per guidelines issued by the department, tourists have been asked to pre-book hotel, taxi, and return flight. Even in the middle of the pandemic, Kashmir has been witnessing the flow of tourists including locals and foreigners.
As per the figures by the department of tourism, 186 tourists including 11 foreigners visited the valley in July. In August, 284 tourists including 33 foreigners visited Kashmir.
Travel agents have started selling packages for the upcoming autumn and winter seasons in Kashmir.
“Tourism activities have been allowed by the government in Kashmir. So we are offering discounts. We have made a detailed list of SOPs . However, the current Indo-China tension and Covid-19 is acting as turn off,” said President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Ashfaq Ahmad Dugg.
Officials said the Kashmir tourism industry has suffered a whopping Rs 1166.81 crore loss in the last one year due to two back to back shutdowns after the abrogation of article 370.