Official: Jammu and Kashmir to reopen for tourists soon

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Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Monday decided to reopen the tourism sector, which has been closed since August last year when the government scrapped the former state’s special status.

The decision was made at a high-level meeting in the presence of Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu, who issued directions to reopen the tourism sector, saying it will stable the backbone of J-K’s economy.

“J&K to reopen for tourism soon. Govt to issue detailed guidelines and SoP shortly. LG issues directions in high level meeting in Srinagar today,” Rohit Kansal, J&K’s spokesperson and principal secretary, tweeted late on Monday night.

Last year, after Article 370 was revoked and the coronavirus pandemic broke, very few tourists have visited the Union territory.

The officials had restricted the entry of foreign tourists into the state as a precautionary norm to avoid the loss from the outbreak of coronavirus disease.

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The district administration in Srinagar had given the order to lockdown parks and gardens, with tourist places like Mughal Gardens, as a precautionary measure soon after the official travel ban.

The Srinagar Tulip Garden, one of the largest tulip gardens in Asia where over 1.3 million flowers grow, was also kept closed, including hotels, restaurants, and community kitchens.

Tour operators and travel agents were asked to provide details of bookings for domestic and international air travel. They were asked to provide details of all residents traveling outside of India and planning to return to Srinagar through their agencies.

The outbreak of diseases and the subsequent measures continue to put a strain on the tourism industry in Kashmir, which had seen a downturn since August last year.

Tourism crashed last year after the government issued a travel guide asking tourists and pilgrims to leave the Kashmir Valley a few days before the central government revoked special status under Article 370 and the region in two on August 5 Union areas divided.

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Restriction with no-internet continued for months as the state remained closed. Although the restrictions were later lifted, the slow Internet restored, and travel advice revoked, few tourists visited the region.


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