Updated: Thu, 06 Oct 2022 09:08 PM IST
THE GOLDEN era of Kashmir is back as Kashmir is attracting lakhs of tourists after three decades, the tourism department said on Wednesday.
The department recorded the highest number of tourists arriving in the Union Territory in an annual year since independence. The number of tourists recorded this year is 1.62 crore, officials said as reported by ANI.
According to the tourism department, "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 also noted that the number of tourists, who visited Jammu and Kashmir this year, testify to the overall development and change that has taken place in the Union Territory.
The official figures were released a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Kashmir was a "hotspot of terrorism" earlier but has now become a "hotspot of tourism" because of the policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"Earlier the region was a terrorist hotspot but now it has become a tourist hotspot. Earlier, a maximum of six lakh tourists used to visit the Kashmir Valley every year, whereas this year alone till now, 22 lakh tourists have visited the region, giving employment to thousands of youth, and this process will be further strengthened," he said.
Reportedly, 20.5 lakhs tourists, including 3.65 lakh Amarnath Yatris, visited Kashmir in the first eight months of this year, drawing visitors from all over the nation to the gorgeous and picturesque Valley. The 2 million tourists represent an all-time high tourist footfall for Kashmir valley. The tourist sites like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, and Sonamarg as well as all hotels and guesthouses in Srinagar experienced 100 percent occupancy.
Meanwhile, the government in Jammu and Kashmir is focusing to make developments in state-of-art resources through public and private investment. Jammu and Kashmir Government has adopted a five-pronged approach for the effective transformation of the tourism potential of Jammu and Kashmir.
The tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir is being developed as per the vision of sustainable development goals. Apart from this, special attention is also being given to strengthening the hospitality segment and establishing a robust tourism infrastructure system.
(With inputs from ANI)