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Major Boost to Tourism in Kashmir

by Madhav Srinivasan 5 year, 2 months ago

Kashmir is a place that’s bestowed with amazing natural beauty; however, many political and regional problems over the past decades have impacted the tourist influx to the state negatively. The situation is clearing up as more tourists visit Kashmir...


Around 700,000 tourists visited the Indian administered state of Kashmir in the first eight months of 2011, as per a report that was released by the State Government Tourism department. This has been the best year in the last two decades for the tourism industry, the official who brought out the report added.


The Unrest That Stalled Tourism

Kashmir, known as the “Switzerland of the East”, is famous for its wealth of breathtaking scenic beauty. Its snow-capped mountains, rivers and fresh water lakes offer adventure tourists ample opportunities for trekking, white water rafting, skiing and mountaineering. 


Kashmir has been the subject of rival claims by Pakistan and India, both of which are nuclear powers, and this problem has made the state a hot bed of hostility for the past six decades.This state attracted over a million tourists in the year 1988. With resurgence of violence in the state, the numbers of tourists has dwindled considerably over the last two decades. The insurgency in Indian-administrated Kashmir since 1988 has taken a toll of 47,000 lives as per the official count; although human rights groups peg the figure at 70000.


A peace process was started in 2004 in an attempt to settle the question of ownership over Kashmir, which has been hotly contested ever since the 1940s. This peace process was a slow moving one but gave some hope to the tourism sector as the number of tourists visiting the state started picked up since its initiation.


The numbers moved up to 500,000 in the year 2008 and declined steeply as violent anti India protests flared in 2009 and 2010. Nearly 110 people died in 2010 and most of the fatalities occurred during an attempt to quell violent mobs of protestors by the security forces.


The travel advisories of most foreign countries later advised their citizens to avoid travel to Indian administered Kashmir, in light of the instability and insurgency in the state.


Recent Developments in Tourism

However, according to a speech given by Mr N Vohra, Governor of Indian Administered Kashmir, the tourism sector has started showing remarkable resurgence with the return of peace and normalcy in the Kashmir Valley. This year’s tally of 700000 visitors also included 21000 foreign nationals.


Germany was the first country to change the caution notice to its citizens against travelling to Kashmir early this July. They also went on to state that “foreigners were not a target for militants in Indian-held Kashmir”. The Chief Minister of the state, Omar Abdullah, urged other countries to change their travel advisories. He stated, “The number of visitors to the valley this summer should serve as a loud message for change of travel advisories issued by various countries regarding Jammu and Kashmir.”


Omar Abdullah urged travel operators to market Kashmir as an adventure tourism destination. The change has been a very stark one, as a travel agency owner, Mr. Tanveer Ahmed, expressed his opinion that the year had been fantastic in terms of business. The situation is expected to grow positively in the coming months, thanks to improvements in the political scene as well

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Comments
u shuld have given more info
Posted by suisse talon 2 year, 11 months ago
very nice work by the writer
Posted by cr7 3 year, 9 months ago

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