Srinagar: Tourist flow to Kashmir has increased by 30 percent in the run-up to the festival season.
From Durga Puja to Diwali, the next two months are crucial for tourism in Kashmir.
Backpackers across the country are booking tour packages during the festival season.
Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo, a renowned travel agent and former president of Travel Agents of Kashmir said the demand has gone up by 30 percent in the last few weeks.
He is anticipating the demand to go up by 50 percent in the coming weeks when few days will be left for puja across the country.
“Right now, we get a good number of inquiries from tourists across the country. Travel agents continue to receive calls from customers in anticipation of the holiday season even though tourism is currently in a kind of off-season,” Kuthoo said.
He said backpackers from West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Gujarat are the prospective visitors to Kashmir during Puja holidays.
“We usually witness a good flow of tourists from West Bengal during October. Tourists from Maharashtra and Gujarat mostly visit during Diwali time. We expect the bookings by tourists will go up by 50 percent in the coming weeks,” Kuhtoo said.
Notably, 2023 has proved yet another successful year of tourism year as 1.6 crore tourists visited the valley so far.
As per the details shared by the Tourism Department 1.6 crore tourists visited the valley in the last eight months including 31000 foreign tourists.
Last year, saw 26.73 lakh tourists visiting Kashmir.
From religious tours to the celebration of festivals as per local rituals, travel agents have made special arrangements for tourists visiting during Puja holidays.
“We have many historic temples here and the tourists will be taken to these places for Puja. We have framed packages that allow tourists to perform their religious duties during their stay in Kashmir, ” said Saqib Ahmad Khan, a travel agent.
Pertinently, the government is promoting religious tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. Over 75 destinations have been selected for the religious tourism circuit.