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Kashmir witnesses 100% increase in foreign tourists’ arrival post-G20 event

SRINAGAR, OCT 18: Kashmir has experienced a significant boost in international tourism, with a 100% increase following the G20 event held in May.

During the G20 event, representatives from over 20 countries convened in Srinagar to promote tourism, pledging to act as ambassadors for Kashmir’s tourism industry. This commitment has resulted in a notable rise in foreign tourists.

According to official data, only 4,100 international tourists visited Kashmir last year. However, in the first nine months of this year, over 32,000 foreign tourists explored the region. Before the G20 meeting, approximately 12,000 tourists had visited the valley up to May. 

Subsequently, in June, July, August, and September, at least 20,000 foreign tourists arrived, indicating a 100% increase in foreign tourist arrivals post the G20 event. These visitors predominantly hailed from countries such as Korea, Netherlands, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, and Turkey.

Kashmir, once a favourite destination for foreign tourists prior to 1990, saw a decline in visitors due to the situation in the region. Several countries, including the USA, Australia, the UK, France, Israel, and some European nations, issued travel advisories cautioning their citizens against visiting Kashmir. However, despite these advisories, the number of foreign tourists has surged, primarily due to the positive impact of the G20 event in Kashmir.

Gyeong-Hui, a 50-year-old woman from Korea, arrived in Kashmir with her husband and friends. She had heard about the region’s beauty from her friends who had previously visited, and despite initial concerns about safety, they booked their trip for a 10-day stay starting on October 9. “We explored various places in Kashmir, including Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Dal Lake,” she said while staying in Houseboat.

Yasu, a resident of Japan, mentioned the positive impact of the G20 meeting, which was attended by a Japanese delegate, and how it influenced perceptions about Kashmir. Despite initial hesitations, Yasu and a group of six friends visited Srinagar and explored attractions like Mughal Gardens, Dal Lake, and Pahalgam. They felt safe during their visit, much like in their home country.

Sarah Bano, a Malaysian resident, shared that she had previously visited Kashmir during the 2016 unrest and did not encounter any issues. She and her family returned to Kashmir, where they explored Dal Lake, Hazratbal Shrine, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, and Old City Srinagar. “We found Kashmir to be incredibly beautiful, in stark contrast to the negative media portrayals,” she added and expressed plans to return during the winter to witness the snow-covered landscapes.

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