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Kashmir witnesses highest-ever tourist footfall in 7 years, festivals planned for Winter season

According to the official, 6,327 tourists had visited Kashmir in November 2020 which is way lesser than the current figure of nearly 1,27,000.

New Delhi: A total of 1,27,605 tourists visited Kashmir in November this year which is more than all the figures in the month in the past seven years, according to the Jammu and Kashmir government officials. The officials are planning to organise various festivals for the Winter season in the mountain Union Territory.

According to the official, 6,327 tourists had visited Kashmir in November 2020 which is way lesser than the current figure of nearly 1,27,000.

Speaking to ANI, Director, Tourism Kashmir, Dr GN Itoo said, “On the direction of the LG, we conducted some of the iconic festivals like houseboat festival, the Sufi festival in which the national level celebrities had participated and also literary festival because of which a buzz was created at the national as well as the international level. So the tourists from all over the world preferred visiting Kashmir. Almost 1,27,000 tourists have visited in November and almost 93,000 tourists have visited in October. It is the first time in the past 7 years, that tourists in such large number have turned up in October and November.”

Itoo further said that this is the result of a vigorous campaign including the roadshows in the country to promote tourism in Kashmir along with other measures to attract the tourists after the second wave of COVID-19.

“The department has started a vigorous promotional campaign after the first wave of COVID-19. We have conducted almost 21 roadshows within the country. When the second wave hit the country, we vaccinated all the members of the tour and travel fraternity as a confidence-building measure,” he said.

Talking about the future plans of the government for the Winter season after attracting a record number of tourists in the Autumn season, the Director said that they are planning to celebrate International Mountain Day and Christmas in a big way.

“We have planned some initiatives for the winter season. We have International Mountain Day on December 11. It will be celebrated in a big way because mountain tourism is also a big attraction in Kashmir. We have planned snow carnivals during Christmas and New Year. So we expect that more tourists will visit then,” he said.

Speaking to ANI, a tourist at the Dal Lake, Neeta, calling Kashmir heaven said that people should visit Kashmir at least once in a lifetime.

“I found it to be more beautiful than what I had heard. It was a surprise for me, I did not know that we are visiting Kashmir. It is an awesome experience and I will explain it to others when I return to Jaipur and suggest them to visit Kashmir at least once. It is indeed a heaven,” she said.

Talking about the hospitality of the people of Kashmir, the visitor said that the behaviour of the people was cooperative.

Another tourist, Sunil who visited Kashmir for the second time in the autumn season said, “The weather is really nice, we do not have such weather at our place. We visited here in January as well and witnessed the snowfall, it was really mesmerizing. The people are very cooperative, and the food is delicious as well. I would like to tell people to visit Kashmir at least once in a lifetime.”

A first time visitor in Kashmir, Sanchita said, “It is my first visit to Kashmir and it is beautiful. The locals are really helpful and supportive. They are really sweet people. I would recommend people to visit Kashmir, as we have heard that it is a heaven on Earth, it indeed is. I am really excited to see more places here.”

Speaking to ANI, Professor of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Jammu, Parikshit Manhas lauded the efforts of the government in reviving the tourism in Kashmir and suggested involving the professionals in the strategy building for taking the tourism in the Union Territory to newer heights.

“The way that the government made efforts to revive tourism after the second wave of COVID-19, the revenue of Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on tourism. All the problems have not been solved but the efforts have been put in. The figures are the representation of such efforts. If the government involves the professionals in the strategy building, then I think our tourism will reach newer highest,” he said.