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Kashmir scaling new heights in tourist count

Kashmir scaling new heights in tourist count
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Srinagar, May 1 (PTI) With an increasing footfall of domestic and foreign visitors, tourism in Jammu and Kashmir is scaling new heights, making the Union Territory one of top destinations in the country. “Year on year and month on month, we have received more tourists this year compared to previous year. We are ensuring that all domestic and international tourists have a memorable stay in Jammu and Kashmir,” tourism department secretary Abid Rashid Shah told PTI.

“It is the responsibility of all stakeholders of the tourism industry in Jammu and Kashmir to make it a warm and hospitable destination for all visitors,” he said. Jammu and Kashmir received 1.88 crore tourists in 2022, a high enough number for any region, but the administration is expecting still that the arrivals will breach the two crore-mark this year. Tourism Director Fazlul Haseeb said the number of arrivals was high even before the onset of the regular tourism season in the valley. “Every single month the tourist numbers are increasing. It’s almost six lakh in the first four months … it’s breaching records,” Haseeb said. Popular mostly with honeymooners once, Kashmir is now attracting even long-married couples, who are coming to celebrate their anniversaries here. “Today is our 24th anniversary, the reason why we booked this trip. I am feeling good,” Kavita Katay from Pune said.

Kavita’s husband Govind said it was his idea to celebrate the anniversary in Kashmir. “It was my plan to celebrate our 24th marriage anniversary in Kashmir. The climate is good here. My friends had been here and they suggested I visit Kashmir. The situation is fine here, not like before,” he said. Vidyadhar from Karnataka found Kashmir safe for tourists and was certain the valley now had peace. “We have been here for the last four days. The situation is absolutely normal here. I also feel Kashmir is a safe place for travellers and there are a lot of tourists here. The people, and their hospitality, are amazing,” she said. Vishwanath, another tourist from Karnataka, was just happy to escape the scorching heat of the plains and be with the mist shrouded mountains of Kashmir. “Back where I come from, the temperature is hovering at 40 to 45 degree Celsius. Here it is three to 10 degree Celsius. We felt very good … those who have not visited Kashmir, we suggest they should,” he said. Abhilasha from Nagpur has been visiting Kashmir once every 10 years.

“This is my third trip to Kashmir. My first visit was in 2004 and then again in 2013. Today, I am here with my whole family. Kashmir is really a beautiful place, people are very nice. That is the reason we visited so many times here,” she said.


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