Over 1.62 crore tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir since January, the highest footfall recorded in the erstwhile state in the last 75 years of India’s Independence, the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) said on Thursday.
According to officials, the return of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir signified the “golden era of Kashmir tourism." “Tourism is the biggest source of employment in Jammu and Kashmir and since the start of this year, 1.62 crore tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir so far and this is the highest in 75 years of independence. Tourism has generated maximum employment in various regions of Jammu and Kashmir including Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu and the Kashmir Valley," officials in the tourism department told ANI.
Seventy-five offbeat destinations have been identified for tourism across Jammu and Kashmir as part of “Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav" initiative by the Centre to commemorate 75 years of the country’s Independence, the official said.
A record-breaking 20.5 lakh tourists, including 3.65 lakh pilgrims visiting Amarnath Cave, visited Kashmir in the first eight months of this year. Tourist sites like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, and Sonamarg as well as all hotels and guesthouses in Srinagar experienced 100 per cent occupancy.
The department had earlier registered 1.06 crore tourist footfall from January to July 3. “During the current calendar year i.e. from January 2022 till July 3, 2022, the tourist footfall in UT of Jammu and Kashmir increased significantly and estimated to be around 1,06,24,000," Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had said in the Rajya Sabha in August.
The minister had said that in order to attract private investors from across the country to invest in tourism infrastructure, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Policy, 2020, was notified given the status of industry to encourage investment.
On August 5, 2019, the central government abrogated Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the erstwhile state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)