144,500 job losses in Kashmir’s tourism, handicrafts sector since Aug 5: Report

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A total of 144,500 people have lost their  jobs in Kashmir’s tourism and handicrafts sector–mostly dependent on earnings from travellers–since August 5, 2019, as per an estimate of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

According to a report by Indiaspends, the overall commercial losses in the state caused in the aftermath of the August 5, 2019, decisions have been pegged at over Rs 15,000 crore ($2.1 billion) and total job losses at 496,000, as per KCCI estimates.

“The back of Kashmir’s tourism sector has been broken because of the situation emerging after August 5, 2019: Tourism is in a shambles while artisans and weavers are jobless,” Abdul Majeed, vice president of KCCI told IndiaSpends. “Doing trade without favourable conditions and the internet is unimaginable in the present-day world. In one fell swoop, irreversible damage has been caused to the state’s economy; not a single sector has been spared.”

In 2018, Kashmir had received 316,434 tourists between August and December; in 2019, this number fell to 43,059 for the same period, a decline of 86%, showed tourism department data accessed by IndiaSpend.

In July 2019, Kashmir received 152,525 tourists but August 2019 saw only 10,130 arrivals and most of them in the first few days of the month. This number further fell to 4,562 in September 2019, and grew to 12,086 in November 2019.

“The number slightly improved in November during the winter games at Gulmarg,” a tourism official said on condition of anonymity. In December 2019, the numbers again fell to 6,954.

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