Kashmir travel advisory lifted, communication blackout stays


dal lake, kashmir, tourism, kashmir valley, article 370, constitution, ledakh

Srinagar - Tourism is the backbone of Kashmir's economy and a source of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of people.


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Published: Thu 10 Oct 2019, 2:46 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Oct 2019, 8:56 AM

A government advisory on August 2 asking tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to leave Kashmir due to security concerns ended on Thursday. A fresh advisory has now been issued, which says the previous advisory has been withdrawn.

"The tourists desirous of undertaking visit to the state shall be provided all necessary assistance and logistical support," it added.

People associated with tourism have welcomed the move.

"It is really good if tourists start returning to Kashmir. Tourism sector in Kashmir has never been hit so badly," said Shakeel Rashid, who runs a shikara in the Dal Lake.

Tourism is the backbone of Kashmir's economy and a source of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of people.

Prior to advisory, more than 521,000 tourists and 3,40,000 pilgrims visited Kashmir. July witnessed the maximum arrivals with 170,000 tourists.

Hotels in Kashmir shut down their operations and retrenched the staff following the massive drop in tourists.

"Our hotel is shut since August, we have retrenched the staff," said Mohammad Subhan, a hotel owner in Srinagar. "Lifting of the advisory may help us to revive our business finally."

However, while government has lifted the tourism advisory, a communication blockade, including suspension of mobile phone service and Internet in Kashmir, may well restrict tourists from heading back to the valley.

"How are the tourists going to deal with a situation of a communication blackout, the government must lift restrictions on communication as well," said Abdul Rahim, a transporter.

"The shutdown of shops during the day hours in Kashmir may as well not help the cause. This is not a perfect sight for the tourists. For tourism to flourish the return of normalcy is important."

Reacting to the move the National Conference has said the decision to lift tourist advisory is a "half-hearted initiative".

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