Revival hopes brighten as tourists start arriving in Kashmir
Srinagar: Tourism revival hopes have brightened after small groups of visitors started arriving in Kashmir for a short vacation.
This is for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 that tourists are keeping a date with Kashmir. Most of the tourists are from Tamil Nadu, who want to spend Christmas, New year, and Pongal holidays in Kashmir.
Officials said the tourism department in Chennai is receiving 8-10 calls from the locals aspiring to visit the valley in the coming weeks.
“Even now, the majority of the tourists currently staying in the valley are either from South India or West Bengal,” an official said.
Travel agents expect an increase in the tourist arrivals on the eve of Christmas and New Year.
“Kashmir is an attraction for tourists during the winter season. Especially people want to celebrate white Christmas and New Year in Kashmir. Adventure sports are also a big attraction. We hope the winter breaks the dry spell of the tourism sector,” said President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo.
Given the increasing number of inquiries from South India, the travel agents said they will focus on these states in the coming days.
“South India is relatively a hotter place. There are chances that heightened promotional will be held to attract more tourists from these states,” he said.
The tourism department too is planning out massive promotional activities to boost arrivals in winter.
“We are planning certain programmes to increase the footfall of tourists on the eve of Christmas and New Year. We are planning to sell Kashmir at a bigger level this year to ensure a good tourist season next year,” Director Tourism department Nisar Ahmad Wani said.
Travel agents and tour operators too have slashed rates to lure the budget tourists.
“At present, our focus is on tourism revival. Therefore, travel agents are offering affordable packages for the tourists during winter in Kashmir,” said Ubaid Ahmad, a travel agent.