NEW DELHI: The number of tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir has shown a positive growth in the last two years, despite the Valley being on the boil during this period, Union Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma said today.
In reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha on whether the number of tourists visiting Kashmir have declined during the current year, he said: "tourist visits in the state has shown a positive growth".
The number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir in 2016 were 94.15 lakh and 62,000 respectively, registering a positive growth of 2.95 per cent and 7.92 per cent, respectively over 2015, the minister said.
"This information is not available for the current year," Sharma said, adding in 2015, the total number of domestic tourists who visiting J-K was 91.4 lakh and foreigners 58,000.
While the number of domestic tourists visiting the state decreased by 3.11 per cent in 2015, the dip in foreign tourists in the same period was 32.27 per cent from 2014.
Meanwhile, local tour operators and tourism trade bodies, however, said that only in 2017, the effects of the violence in the state over the past two years could be seen on tourism.
Vaibhav Sharma, co-founder of Travellers Dost and the Himalayas 360, which is a destination management group in Jammu told PTI that in the present peak season from May-June-July, he has seen a dip of 40-45 per cent in revenue.
"The hotel rooms which were priced at Rs 8000, now cost Rs 6000. If I were to give a ballpark figure of the dip in footfalls in J-K, it would be anywhere between 40 per cent and 60 per cent. I think, it would be more 60 per cent than less," said Sharma, who is now concentrating his business around Ladakh.