The uncertainty triggered by August 5 announcement of Government of India about roll back of Article 370 and bifurcation of erstwhile state into two Union Territories (UTs) has cast a shadow on the tourist arrival in Kashmir. The official figures have painted a grim picture of tourist influx in Kashmir as it reveals 90 per cent dip in tourist arrival to Kashmir.According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the data compiled by the Department of Tourism, discloses that the tourist arrivals this year decreased by 88.41 percent compared to 2018.As per figures, a total of 841202 tourists came to Kashmir in 2018 due to the campaign launched by the department last year. Of these, 56029 were foreigners and 785173 foreign tourists. However, the number of tourists arriving in Kashmir for entertainment this year till October 2018 is 475830 including 30293 foreigners and 445537 domestic tourists.The total number of tourists arriving in Kashmir by August 5 is 456525. There were 28398 foreigners. Tourist arrivals have declined significantly since the state of Jammu and Kashmir canceled its special status in August and issued advisories to tourists returning to the valley.
The number of foreign tourists coming to Kashmir in August this year is 845, 604 in September and 446 till October 18, while in 2018 the number is 5839 in August, 6672 in September and 4239 in October. Speaking of which, 9285 tourists arrived in August this year, 3958 in September, 4167 tourists in October,” reveals the data. “In 2018, there were 79695 domestic tourists. Of which 96523 in September, 51712 tourists visited Kashmir in October.”A senior Tourism official said that many countries had issued an advisory to their citizens about Kashmir which prevented tourists from coming to Kashmir. They also said that tourists are mostly associated with Adventure Tourism in Kashmir and interested in mountainous areas of the valley. This time, because of their decline, the health facilities of Kashmir are deserted.Siraj Ahmed, a tour operator said that there is a serious fall as far tourist arrivals in Kashmir is concerned. “The August 5 decision triggered a wave of uncertainty and the past three months have witnessed zero tourist arrival in Kashmir. At present, the tourist arrival is not more than five per cent,” he told KNO. He said that tourism industry is on crutches.(KNO)