he valley is witnessing an increase in the number of tourist arrivals as the festive season is just around the clock in India.
Next month, Durga Puja will be celebrated across India, which will be followed by Chhath Puja and Diwali in the month of November.
The Puja holiday season, which typically falls in October, has historically been a peak time for tourism in the region. However, this year’s bookings are witnessing an unprecedented uptick, with travel agencies and hoteliers reporting a surge in reservations and inquiries.
Travel agents said that the inquiries related to the bookings have gone up by 30 percent in the last two weeks as the festive season nears.
“We get a good number of inquiries from the tourist currently. Even though it is a kind of off-season for tourism right now but still travel agents get calls from clients in view of the festive season,” said Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo, President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK).
He said that travel agents receive the majority of inquiries from West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat apart from other states where Durga Puja and Diwali are celebrated with fervour.
“We usually witness a good flow of tourists from West Bengal during the month of October. Tourists from Maharashtra, Gujarat mostly visit during the Diwali time. We expect the bookings by tourists will go up by 50 percent in coming weeks,” Kuthoo said.
Travel agents said they have made special arrangements for the tourists visiting the valley during the festive season.
“We have included a religious tour for the tourists as well so that they can enjoy the festivals here while exploring the historic temples of the valley. Apart from that, other arrangements have also been made for making their stay very comfortable and enjoyable,” said Umar Ahmad, another travel agent.
The government is also expecting the number of tourist arrivals to further go up in the remaining months of the year.
On Monday Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that tourist arrivals in Jammu and Kashmir are expected to surpass 2.25 crores, with foreign tourist influx increasing by 59%.