Tour operators visit Kashmir after govt lifts travel advisory

Srinagar: Several prominent tour operators visited Kashmir on Wednesday to assess the ground reality in the valley, days after the central government withdrew a travel advisory that requested tourists and pilgrims to curtail their stay in the region.

It may be recalled that thousands of tourists, pilgrims, workers and students from other states had to leave Jammu and Kashmir in early August after authorities issued a security alert over possible terrorist attacks. Since the abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution, Kashmir’s tourism sector, which is the backbone of its economy, had been going through one of its worst phases.

The decision to lift the travel advisory has been welcomed by the tourism sector stakeholders, who have expressed hope that they will see a boom in tourism during the upcoming tourist season

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“After coming here and seeing how safe it here now, I can tell my clients with confidence that they should visit the place,” said Megna Goutam, a tour operator. “I believe we can see a boom in tourism during the upcoming tourist season.”

“While the tourism sector faced a setback in the past few weeks, we believe that the Diwali and Christmas tourist seasons would bring things back on track,” said Abhijeet Patel, the chairman of the Raja Rani Travels.

On August 2, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had advised Amarnath Yatris and tourists to curtail their stay in the Valley immediately after the Indian Army said Pakistani terrorists are planning to disrupt the pilgrimage.

However, on October 7, Governor Satya Pal Malik had directed officials to lift the Home Department’s advisory and had announced that the advisory will be lifted with effect from October 10.

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