Tourist slump hits
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Tourist slump hits Kashmir
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Tourist slump hits Kashmir

Scenic and beautiful Kashmir is facing a major tourism slump.

Srinagar/ Pahalgam, May 12 : Scenic and beautiful Kashmir is facing a major tourism slump.

Despite scorching heat and soaring temperatures in the plains, popular tourist spots in Kashmir have failed to get many visitors.

This slump is a major cause of worry for locals, who depend heavily on tourism for their livelihood.

"There has been a slump in our business this year. I had taken a loan to refurbish my boat, but now, I am worried that even with the situation in the valley being normal, tourist inflow is less in the region," said Imran Ahmed, a boatman.

The otherwise teeming Pahalgam also wears a deserted look, as tourists stay away from the valley.

"Unemployment has increased in the region because of less inflow of tourists. Everybody from travel agents to people like us are suffering. We hope that the tourist inflow increases, as they are our main source of livelihood," said Nazir Ahmed, a horseman.

According to state officials, tourist arrivals during the current season were only forty percent, despite relative normalcy in the valley.

They blame the extended snowfall in the region for the tourism slump, as the only road link with the region remained snapped off for a longer duration than expected.

"Last year, we had good tourist inflow in the months of March-April. This time, the national highway, which is the only link to the outside world, got disrupted because of the untimely snow and rainfall. The road got damaged and was closed for a few days. For sometime, the traffic was restricted to one-way. So, the inflow of people dropped because of this," said Nayeem Akhtar, the Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism.

Over 400,000 tourists visited Kashmir in 2006.Kashmir was regarded as the top Asian tourist destination, popular among honeymooners, skiers, trekkers and anglers, before militancy hit the State in 1989.

Tourism made a comeback to Kashmir in 2005, with the arrival of 600,000 tourists. The numbers, however, dropped off again last year after attacks on tourists.

ANI

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