Overseas holidaymakers keep their date with Kashmir this summer
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Overseas holidaymakers keep their date with Kashmir this summer

Valley records over 18,000 foreigner footfalls from Jan-May this year

Post by Aatif Qayoom on Saturday, August 12, 2023

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Srinagar, Aug 11: The scenic landscapes and unparalleled hospitality of Kashmir has once again captured the hearts of international travellers. The Valley has seen a record-breaking influx of foreign tourists, with over 18,000 visitors exploring its wonders in the first five months of this year.
This surge marks the highest number of foreign tourists in the region in the past three decades, reflecting a revival of its reputation as a global tourist hotspot.
Attracting a diverse range of travellers from across the globe, Kashmir's allure has not only captivated tourists from southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, but has also enchanted tourists from western nations including Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and the USA.
This season's overwhelming response signifies a resounding victory for the region's tourism industry, attributing much of its success to the recently held G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in May.
The successful execution of the G20 meeting served as a catalyst for generating heightened interest among foreign travellers. The diplomats, delegates, and High Commissioners of G20 countries were not only participants but also witnesses to the unparalleled warmth, hospitality, and vibrant culture that Kashmir has to offer.
According to Secretary of Department of Tourism and Culture, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, this global spotlight has effectively showcased the real potential of Kashmir as a tourism destination. In an inspiring revival reminiscent of its glory days, Jammu and Kashmir is positioning itself as a prime leisure, adventure, and spiritual tourism hub once more. The number of arrivals and bookings has tripled, while occupancy rates have soared, creating a palpable sense of anticipation for the year's impending tourism statistics. Impressively, the visitor count in the first five months of this year has already eclipsed the total foreign tourist arrivals for the entire previous year. Kashmir, historically acclaimed as a traveller's paradise, had witnessed over 100,000 foreign tourists annually prior to the onset of terrorism in 1990. Despite the subsequent tumultuous years and the decline in foreign tourist arrivals, recent times have breathed new life into the Valley's tourism landscape. The region's allure, combined with the collective efforts of the local government, has propelled it back onto the global stage.
Reiterating this renaissance, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha last week announced that a whopping 1.27 crore tourists have graced the UT in the first seven months of this year alone. This unprecedented momentum is projected to culminate in a staggering 2.25 crore tourists visiting the Union Territory.
Encouragingly, multiple countries have lifted travel advisories, and the Government of India is actively engaged in dialogue with others to ensure a harmonious return of international tourism. The stakeholders in Kashmir tourism sector remain hopeful that additional direct flights to international destinations will be considered, boosting footfall and bringing fresh energy to the Valley's tourism.

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