Southeast Asia emerging potential tourist market for Kashmir

‘10,000 Malaysian,Thai tourists visited Valley in 2017’

SAQIB MALIK
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 14 2018 12:34AM | Updated Date: Jan 14 2018 12:34AM
Southeast Asia emerging potential tourist market for KashmirRepresentational Pic

Slump in tourism notwithstanding, as many as 10,000 tourists from Malaysia and Thailand visited Kashmir in 2017.

With states based in South-East Asia emerging as potential tourist market for Kashmir, according to official figures 6100 tourists from Malaysia and 4000 from Thailand visited Kashmir last year. 

Director Tourism, Mehmood Shah said the increase in tourist arrivals from South-East Asia “is a positive indication but lot more needs to be done”.

“Foreign arrivals in 2015 and 2016 were affected by floods and the unrest but last year we witnessed an interesting trend. South-East Asia has proved to be a major market for us. This has made us keen to attract maximum number of tourists from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore,” Shah said.   

Shah said no travel advisory by the Far-East countries has helped to attract maximum arrivals. “Even 1750 arrivals from Bangladesh were registered in 2017. 

As per official figures 30,000 foreign tourists visited Kashmir in 2017. “In 2015, the figure was 28,000. Only 23,000 foreign tourist arrivals were registered in 2016 due to unrest after Hizb commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces on July 8.”

Shah said among other foreign tourist arrivals to Kashmir in 2017 includes almost 1000 tourists from the US, 1000 from Singapore and 1000 from Great Britain.

Shah said the department is networking with foreign embassies in New Delhi for dilution of travel advisories.

“Several foreign ambassadors have been part of our tourism promotional campaign which has completely changed their perception about Kashmir. 

“Ambassador of German visits us regularly while the Italian ambassador visits here for trekking,” said Shah.

Meanwhile, On March 9, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry at its Delhi headquarters “will facilitate meeting of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti with ambassadors of 22 countries.”

“Kashmir is the theme at this annual event which will provide a platform for us to showcase our state. We expect the event to help us remove the negative perception created by a section of media and encourage prospective tourists from across the world to Kashmir,” said Mushtaq Chaya, chairman, PHDCCI, Kashmir Chapter.

Travel trade players are also busy holding road-shows in countries abroad to woo tourists to Kashmir. 

Association of Kashmir Tour Operators (AKTO) recently held a promotional event in Bangladesh.