HYDERABAD: After the abrogation of Article 370 in August, Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism had been hit badly, however, J&K hotel and tour associations, who were in the city on Wednesday claimed that the situation is improving and J&K is likely to see more footfall of tourists in future, especially from states like Maharashtra and Telangana.
“The slump was for a couple of months, however, now the tourism in J&K is getting back on its feet, as we are getting a lot of enquiries from States including Maharashtra and Telangana. Last year, thousands of tourists from the State visited J&K and are we are hopeful of better numbers this year,” said Nazir Tunda, a member of Tour Association of Kashmir. Javed Bakshi, director, Sheri Kashmir International Convention Complex (SKICC) said, “We have a municipal pact with the Maharashtra government, and we are also planning to talk to the Telangana government to see if steps can be taken to improve connectivity between the States.”
Following a Supreme Court order on January 10, 2019, the J&K government announced it would restore 2G mobile data on post-paid mobile phones in all districts in Kashmir. But access was only allowed to a few selected websites as per the order, leaving internet curbs largely unchanged.
Bakshi said, “It is a positive sign. We cannot say for sure right how the situation will pan out. But the number of inquiries are more, and is showing an upward trend.” In 2018, Kashmir received 3,16,434 tourists between August and December. In 2019, the number fell to 43,059 for the same period, a decline of 86 per cent, said the data accessed by IndiaSpend. The data also shows that August 2019 saw only 10,130 arrivals and most of them in the first few days of the month. This number further fell to 4,562 in September 2019, but grew to 12,086 in November 2019.
Speaking to the Express, a city-based-travel agency said, “It is only in the last few years that the footfall from Telangana to J&K has dropped drastically, but we are hoping that, it will increase.”