J&K tourist footfalls nosedive, sops announced

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The average daily tourist footfall to Jammu and Kashmir has nosedived to about 5,000 in March and April this year, an official of the northernmost state said here on Saturday.

“If the situation was in control then we would have had at least 10,000 tourists per day visiting our state. This is the peak time, but we have not seen a spurt in numbers. We are hoping the footfall will go up in the next couple of months as the situation has improved,” Ghulam Zeelani Zagar, Deputy Director of Jammu and Kashmir tourism, told the media here.

In 2016, as many as 17 lakh tourists toured the troubled state.

“This fiscal, we apprehend a lakh or two less number of tourists because the situation in the last six months has not been so good, particularly after July,” Zagar said.

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Zagar appealed to the public not to turn their backs on the scenic spots such as Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Srinagar.

“The recent terrorist activities are only near the border areas. The tourist destinations of the state are well protected with maximum safety and security for the tourists. The hotel owners, the transport operators and the administration are ready to provide safety and security for the tourists,” he said.

To lure travellers, the state Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) is offering a discount of around 50 per cent on its tour packages, while the private tour operators have come forward with 30 per cent discount.

The situation turned grim for tourists, especially after July 8 last year, when the security forces gunned down Hizbul leader Burhan Wani.

His death led to violent protests, several months of curfew, an overall deterioration in the state’s security situation, and more than 100 deaths across the valley.