After facing set back following the constitutional changes in Kashmir Valley, the tourism industry is now suffering wreckage in wake of Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of getting help from the government, the tourism department has been spending from its own office expenses in times of Covid-19 pandemic.
In response to the information sought by a social activist MM Shuja, the tourism department has stated that-
It has not received any budgetary allocation on account of Covid-19 pandemic from March to June this year. “This office has incurred expenses to the tune of Rs 1,53,299 out of ‘Office Expenses Head’ to cater the immediate requirements of masks, sanitizers and gloves etc on account of Covid-19 pandemic.
-social activist MM Shuja
Decline of 34% tourist in Valley after Aug 5, 2019
While giving statistical data collected and compiled by the Department of Tourism about the loss of revenue on account of non-functional Tourism Industry in Kashmir Division from April 2019 to June 2020, the department according to KNT said that during 2018 the number of tourists, both domestic and foreign visited Kashmir Valley was 830758 while as the tourist arrival during 2019 was reported as 565532 which shows there is a decline of 34% in tourist footfall and which happened in the aftermath of constitutional changes on Aug 5, 2019.
“Furthermore, during the year 2020, the tourist arrival from January to July are 17874 which show drastic decline in tourist footfall which happened due to Covid-19 Pandemic and subsequent lockdown.”
“The loss of revenue on account of non-functional Tourism Industry in Kashmir Division is Rs 1166.81 Crores.”
In 2012 Kashmir witnessed highest tourists
Pertinently, last year in August, the government had banned all tourists from travelling to Kashmir after the abrogation of Special Status. Even as the government lifted the ban after two months in October, the tourism sector, however, could hardly recover from the losses it suffered due to continuous restrictions. This year it was Covid-19 pandemic that devastated tourism industry in Kashmir.
Over the past 30 years, Kashmir witnessed the highest tourist arrivals in 2012, with more than 13 lakh tourists visiting the region. Since then, the number of tourists has steadily declined, except in 2016 when tourist footfall increased by 30% (12.12 lakh tourists) even after the region witnessed unrest for over six months after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander.