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Kashmir records over a million tourist arrivals till mid-May – Rising Kashmir

More than a million tourists have visited Kashmir till mid-May, with the J&K government gearing up for record-breaking tourist arrivals this year.

Kashmir is witnessing a tourism boom this year with promising foreign arrivals. Hotels, houseboats and homestays are witnessing full occupancy this season.

“We have already received more than a million tourists until mid-May. We are having a good season compared to last year with promising foreign arrivals,” said Raja Yaqoob, Director, Kashmir Tourism.

The tourism director said they expect to surpass the previous record given the continued flow of tourists in winter, spring and summer so far.

“The previous year’s record of huge tourist arrivals will be broken this year. We are ready for a record number this year,” he said.

Yaqoob said that besides the major tourist destinations, unusual places like Daksun, Doodhpathri and others are also receiving a large number of tourists this year. “The good thing is that we see tourists exploring offbeat destinations in Kashmir. From Daksun to Doodhpathri, Keran and other places tourists like to explore,” he said.

The tourism director is on secondment from the Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), which claims that the summer season is packed with bookings from tourists from across India and the world.

“We are currently witnessing an uninterrupted flow of tourists. We expect the flow to continue for the rest of the months and hope to break previous tourism records,” he said.

The valley currently receives large numbers of tourists from Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, where temperatures are abnormally high this season.

“Currently, a higher flow of tourists is being witnessed from Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Chennai. We also receive a large number of tourists from Bangalore,” he said.

Hoteliers said that currently all hotels are fully booked until the second week of June. “We currently have 100 percent occupancy. Since the summer vacation in Maharashtra and Gujarat ends in the second week of June, we receive tourists from New Delhi and Punjab in June. We expect the flow of tourists to continue throughout the year,” said hotelier Waheed Ahmad Bazaz.

Houseboat owners say the current heat wave across the country has increased the flow of tourists to Kashmir.

Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, president of Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association, said the occupancy of the houseboats was ‘satisfactory’. “As the heat wave prevails in the rest of India, we are witnessing good bookings and occupancy. We expect the flow to continue for the rest of the months too, especially during Amarnath Yatra,” he said – (KNO)

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