Tribune News Service
Srinagar, December 13
After the devastating September deluge, the tourism activity in Kashmir has started limping back. The sector got a boost this week as a group of 150 Mexican and Brazilian tourists landed here on a spiritual journey.
The arrival of the tourist is likely to give a fillip to the tourism sector in the Valley.
“The arrival of such a large group of foreign tourists after the floods is encouraging and a sign of revival. We appreciate the efforts of the organisers for motivating these tourists to visit Kashmir,” Talat Parvez, Director of Tourism, Kashmir, said.
On the first day, the group visited and explored the famous Sufi shrines and dargahs in Srinagar, besides having a shikara ride on the famous Dal lake, which was also hit by the floods.
Themed as “Sufi Tour”, the arrival of tourists from Brazil and Mexico is part of the efforts of ‘Discovery Journeys’, a Kashmir-based privately owned tour and travel operator, to promote Kashmir as a Sufi and spiritual destination.
“Post floods, this is the first major group of tourists which has arrived in Kashmir. The group members are from Brazil and Spain and are eager to embark on a spiritual journey to explore various Sufi and sacred shrines of Kashmir,” said Muslim Naqash, operational head of Discovery Journey.
President of the House Boat Owners Association Azim Tuman termed the arrival of groups like these as a good omen for the region’s tourism industry. He expressed hope of improvement in tourist footfall in the coming months, particularly after snowfall.
In November-December 2013, 44,000 tourists, including around 16,000 foreign tourists, visited Kashmir, Talat Parvez, Director Tourism, said. This year in November, some 20,000 tourists, mostly domestic, visited the Valley. “The arrival of the domestic tourists, and now the foreigners, proves the belief of tourists in Kashmir,” Talat said. He hoped to have normal tourist arrival in the months to come, while terming the September floods as a “limited” phenomenon as far as the vast tourist infrastructure of Kashmir is concerned.
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