Tourist sector gets a jolt due to sudden spike in violence

A sudden spike in the level of violence in Kashmir on Sunday has cast a shadow on the tourism industry, which was hoping for increased footfall of holidaymakers.
As the region witnessed a sudden bout of protests and a record high death toll on Sunday, it has caused scare among tourists who came face to face with the turbulent situation.
Several tourists, who had planned to holiday for several days, cancelled their stay in the region and rushed home. The deterioration of the law and order situation after Sunday’s multiple gunfights has cast a shadow on the tourism sector.
The three gunfights in south Kashmir left 13 militants, four civilians and three soldiers dead. It also sparked shutdowns and protests across the Kashmir valley and also along the routes to the region’s meadow resorts.
“We had 10 guests and five of them refused to stay and left early morning,” a hotel owner in the city said.
The tourism industry was all set for a new season as blooming tulips and spring’s warmth was helping it to make a positive start after several years of bad footfall.
The tourist industry made a steady comeback as militancy receded during the early part of the last decade and hosted nearly four lakh tourists in 2004. The number gradually increased and crossed the million mark for the first time in 2011.
The Kashmir valley witnessed increased tourist arrivals for several years since 2011 when the footfall crossed the million mark annually. However, the sector witnessed a slowdown in the aftermath of 2014 floods and then the 2016 agitation when the tourists fled the region as the protests escalated and ended after the five-month unrest.

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