Mubashir Aalam Wani
Srinagar, Sep 12: Foreign tourism is in a revival mode in Kashmir as 30647 foreign guests have visited the Valley since January this year forcing the travel agents to dole out various new services to lure more high end-visitors.
Kashmir, which for the last two years broke records for receiving maximum tourists, has been a destination for domestic tourists majorly.
“This year, the number of foreign tourists to the valley has swelled as more than 30647 foreigners have visited the valley till now,” an official privy to the development said.
As per the officials, the valley this year has received bulk tourists from countries including Europe, Thailand, Malaysia and the Middle East.
Witnessing the surge in foreign tourists, the department is going to participate in international tourism trade marts to promote Kashmir tourism across the world.
“Apart from the domestic travel fairs, we are going to participate in international travel trade marts to promote Kashmir tourism. Moreover, 75 new offbeat destinations are also coming up primarily to attract foreign tourists,” an official said.
The travel agents, as such, have included various services in their packages to cater to foreign tourists.
From trekking to greater lakes to heritage tours, travel agents have framed special packages for foreign tourists.
“This year we have witnessed an increase in foreign tourists. This has happened post-G20 summit, as a strong message went to foreign countries that Kashmir is safe for tourists. Right now, travel agents are also individually in touch with foreign associations to promote Kashmir,” said the President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo.
“Travel agents have also floated their packages, which include various services of adventure and offbeat trips to lure foreign tourists. Similarly, hoteliers too are contributing to provide services of international standard to the tourists to make their stay in Kashmir a memorable one,” he added.
Kuthoo hoped that the travel advisory by many countries would also be lifted to further promote Kashmir as an international tourism destination.
Pertinently, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Monday also said that around 300 new destinations including heritage sites, offbeat, adventure and spiritual destinations are being developed to provide a variety of gateway options for domestic and foreign tourists.