Over 9 million tourists visited J&K in 2012: Govt

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Saima Bhat

Srinagar

More than nine million tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir this year, making it one of the most successful tourism years ever in the scenic valley which has witnessed a relative claim over the last two years.

After a successful year in terms of tourist inflow in 2011, a total of 95,19,710 tourists have visited J&K since January 2012. The visitors include 54,460 foreigners who visited Kashmir and Ladakh region and 83,093,95 pilgrims to Jammu and Kashmir divisions.

So far this year, 27,596 foreigners, 10,42,431 domestic and 6,21,104 Amarnath Yatris visited Kashmir while a total of 1,40,288 tourists visited Ladakh region. The number of pilgrims visiting Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu was 76,88,291.

As per the records, a plan allocation of Rs 111.31 crore was granted for the J&K tourism sector this year. For the accommodation of these visitors, there are a total of 43,554 rooms available in the state (25,141 Kashmir, 12,978 in Jammu and 5,435 in Ladakh).

Besides, there are 88 dormitories/halls of varying bed capacities available in J&K to cater the huge inflow of tourists in the state. In order to accommodate high number of tourists visiting Kashmir and Ladakh each year, the state tourism department has implemented a centrally sponsored scheme which offers incentives to locals who convert a portion of their houses into paying guest house.  So far, 657 beneficiaries have converted their houses into guest houses.

Besides Amarnath cave and Mata Vaishno Devi visitors, there are large number of pilgrim tourists (Muslims, Hindu and Sikhs pilgrims) who visit Poonch and Rajouri districts but are not included in the list as they are mostly from within the J&K.

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