How lockdown-hit Kashmir is trying to revive tourism

It’s been a terrible two years for the tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir—already hit by militancy, then the political upheaval in 2019 and now the Covid pandemic. In March 2021, tourist arrivals had picked up to 125,000 from about 19,000 in January. But the spurt in advance bookings and inquiries came to a grinding halt by mid-April as the second wave of Covid-19 hit the country.

Tourism accounts for close to 7 per cent of J&K’s GSDP, with more than a third of the Union territory’s 12 million population directly or indirectly associated with it. Tourism has been hit time and again in J&K in recent times. In 2016, the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani saw a five-month-long period of unrest beginning June 8. The annual inflow of tourists fell from over 1.2 million in 2016 to 850,000 in 2018. In August 2019, authorities had cancelled the annual Amarnath Yatra midway, sending an estimated 25,000 tourists back. A four-month military clampdown followed the…

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