J-K tourism industry lost 1168 Crore rupees to art-370, COVID-19 lockdowns

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Following the abrogation of article-370 and the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry in Jammu and Kashmir has recorded a revenue loss to the tune of over Rs 1168 crores while in 2019 there has been a decline of 34 percent in tourist footfall.

The officials in the tourism department have calculated this loss on account of non-functional tourism industry in Kashmir division on the basis of hypothesis of the tourist arrival and their expenditures, reported a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

Official documents by the department reveals: “The loss of tourism industry in Kashmir Division is Rs 1166.81 Crores (approximately) on account of non-functional tourism industry from January-04-2019 to June-30-2020.”

The information was revealed by the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the tourism department in a reply to the queries of a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by the RTI activist M M Shuja. “During the year-2018 the number of domestic and foreign tourists visited Kashmir valley was 8,307,58 while as the tourist arrival during 2019 was reported as 56,553,2 which shows there is a decline of 34 percent in tourist footfall and which happened in the aftermath of constitutional changes on August-05-2019,” the PIO said.

In a reply to RTI queries, the PIO of the tourism department said that during the year 2020, the tourist arrival from January to ending July is 17,874 which shows a drastic decline in tourist footfall which happened due to COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

“Assuming that if a tourist visits to Kashmir valley and spends at least of Rs 20,000 during the stay, then the amount spent by tourists during the year 2018 works out as a total number of tourists multiplied by Rs 20,000 that is Rs 1661.52 crores,” it reads.

The PIO said that similarly during the year 2019, the amount spent by the tourists could be charted out as the total number of tourists (5,65,532) multiplied by Rs 20,000 is equal to Rs 1131.06 Crores.

“Besides, during the year 2020 upto ending July, the amount spent might work out as 17,874 multiplied by Rs 20,000 is equal to Rs 35.75 Crores,” he replied.

The PIO said, “It is clear that after assuming the tourists who visited Kashmir valley have spent a minimum of Rs 20,000 each from January-04-2019 to July-31-2020 works out as Rs 1131.06 and Rs 35.75. Hence, the loss of revenue on account of non-functional of tourism industry in Kashmir Division is 1166.81 Crores (approximately) on the basis of assumption referred above.”—(KNO)

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