Record Number of Tourists Visited Kashmir: Dir Tourism
Mir Liyaqut Ali (Rising Kashmir)
Srinagar: The Tourism department Thursday said record number of tourists have visited Kashmir this year and tourist influx to Valley is expected to increase by 12 per cent by the end of 2012.
“We have already received record number of tourist this year. 2012 will be the most successful tourist year of the State,” Director Tourism, Talat Parvaiz told Rising Kashmir. He said tourism department has recorded increase in the arrival of domestic tourists this time as compared to last year. “14 lakh domestic tourists visited Kashmir last year. We are expecting the number to increase by more than 12 per cent by the end of 2012,” he said.
Talat said since record number of tourists have visited Kashmir this year, the tour and travel operators, hotels, guest houses and houseboats owners have been doing great business.
On arrival of foreign tourists, he said about 14000 foreigners visited Kashmir last year. “We are expecting 14 per cent rise in influx of foreign tourists by the end of this year”. He said new tourist places including Bangus and Lolab valleys have been explored and added as tourist destinations to promote tourism in the valley. “Special thrust was given to these new explored tourist areas this year”.
“On suggestions of tour operator and other stake holders, tourism department has adopted some other unexplored destinations this year. The infrastructure in these tourist places is being upgraded. The hotels, huts and other tourism related infrastructure has also been put in place at these new places and these will be throw open for tourists next year,” Talat said.
Stating that the tourist season has not ended yet, he said the tourism department was expecting heavy tourist inflow in winter months as well. “We hope this winter would also turn to be a great season for us,” he said. The tourism director said the department has introduced heli-skiing at Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Gulmarg. “We are hopeful that record number of adventure tourists would visit the valley this winter,” he added.