Srinagar, Jan 14: The dreadful decline in the tourist arrivals in picturesque Kashmir Valley could be gauged by the fact that out of 78.72 lakh tourist who visited the state in 2017, mere 14 percent have visited Valley.
According to the government figures, there were 11.61 lakh tourists who have visited the landlocked Kashmir Valley in the year 2017- reflecting the worrisome situation for the tourism sector of the Kashmir.
According to figures, some 403,000 tourists visited the valley during the first four months of 2016, but only 181,000 tourists arrived during the same period this year — a drop of 56 percent.
The government figures reveal that the state of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed footfall of 78.72 Lakh tourists in the year. However, as per the details, there were no more than 11.61 lakh tourists who have visited Kashmir. And out of these 11.61 lakh tourists, 2.59 lakh paid obeisance at Shri Amrnath.
The tourism department has already been striving to put the tourism sector back on track with road shows being organised in different states. Pertinently, during the recent NCRB report, there wasn’t any case registered against any person for harassing or misbehaving with any tourist in Kashmir Valley.
Some 20 percent of the state’s 12.5 million people directly or indirectly depend on tourism for their livelihoods.
Data compiled by the Indian Journal of Economics and Development in 2016 show that 425,000 people are directly dependent on tourism for their income. They include management and employees of hotels, houseboats, guest houses, restaurant dormitories and tent houses.
A further 2.1 million Kashmiri people indirectly depend on tourism, such as taxi drivers, shopkeepers, vendors and fruit sellers.
The state government records also show that it has some 1 million artisans working in handicrafts sector, whose products are sold to the tourists, mainly as souvenirs.
It is pertinent to mention that tourism accounts for 7 percent of the state’s income and is considered an important sector of Kashmir’s economy. (KNS)