SRI NAGAR: The tourist inflow to militancy-hit Kashmir is not picking up despite it being four months since Centre’s decision to scrap Article 370. Even an early snowfall has failed to attract visitors to the region with the tourist footfall being very low as compared to previous years.
An official of J&K tourism department told this newspaper that 9,327 tourists including 8,503 domestic and 824 foreign travellers visited the Valley in October this year, while 12,086 domestic and foreign travellers visited it in November.
These numbers though are a far-cry compared to the number of people who visited last year during the same period.
According to officials, 59,048 and 39,050 tourists had visited Kashmir in October and November last year respectively.
A further look into the data accessed found that the figure was 1,33,220 and 1,12,301 back in October and November 2017 respectively.
Most hotels and houseboats in Kashmir are nearly empty.
Abdul Wahid Malik, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, president, said the tourism sector continues to face one of its most barren spells.
“I have a hotel on Boulevard Road in Srinagar. Not one single room was occupied in the last four months,” he said.
According to Malik, people across the country are still hesitant in travelling to Kashmir.“I am presently in Pune and have been talking to my friends here, none of them want to visit Kashmir right now,” he said.
Travel Agents Association of India’s Kashmir chapter president Zahoor Qari said the early snowfall failed to lure travellers to the Valley.“Some ski-lovers visited Gulmarg but the overall tourist inflow is negligible,” Qari said.
440 villages without power in Uttarakhand
DEHRADUN: Around 440 villages across Uttarakhand are said to be without power supply due to heavy snowfall. More than 80 connecting roads as well are blocked due to the heavy snowfall.
A government spokesperson said that efforts were being made to restore normalcy in the affected areas