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Paradise calling: Tourist footfalls to break all previous records

June 5, 2024
tourism

Srinagar: Tourist footfalls in Kashmir are poised to surpass all previous records. If reports are to go by, more than 1.25 million visitors have already arrived as of now.

Local tourism officials have indicated that Kashmir has seen over 12.5 lakh tourists thus far, suggesting that 2024 is likely to witness unprecedented levels of tourism.

Further reports add that at present, all local hotels in Srinagar city, the ski resort of Gulmarg, and the hill stations of Pahalgam and Sonamarg are fully booked until mid-June. This trend extends to guest houses, homestays, houseboats on the Dal and Nigeen Lakes, and other lodging facilities across Kashmir.

A notable development this year is the increasing number of foreign tourists, attributed to the improved law and order situation and prevailing peace in the region, as per the reports. The influx of foreign tourists is significant as it contributes to foreign exchange earnings, especially considering their propensity for higher spending compared to domestic tourists.

Despite the impending Amarnath Yatra, which typically leads to a decline in tourist arrivals due to the pilgrimage rush, hoteliers remain optimistic about sustained tourism levels. This optimism is bolstered by the substantial number of bookings already made.

The soaring temperatures in other parts of the country have further fueled tourist arrivals in Kashmir, as it remains unparalleled in its allure compared to other hill stations like Shimla, Darjeeling, and Nainital.

Currently, tourists predominantly hail from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Maharashtra, with expectations of an increase in visitors from Delhi and Punjab starting in the middle of the next month.

The tourism industry stands as the second-largest sector in Kashmir after horticulture, contributing significantly to the local economy. While horticulture generates an estimated Rs 10,000 crore annually, tourism injects approximately INR 8,000 crore into the local economy. This economic impact extends beyond orchard owners to sustain various stakeholders, including hoteliers, houseboat owners, tour guides, and artisans involved in handicrafts.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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