Violence in J&K, North East affecting ‘local’ tourism: Sharma

New Delhi: With a series of terrorist activities being reported in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East region, the Centre on Monday said such acts have affected tourism “locally” but ruled out its impact on the overall industry in the country.

In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said, “Though terrorist activities have to some extent affected tourism locally, they have not had an impact on overall tourism in the country.”

He was responding to queries whether the “growing” incidents of terrorist activities in the North East states and Jammu and Kashmir were causing “enormous” loss to tourism.

In Jammu and Kashmir, Domestic Tourist Visits (DTVs) fell about 3 per cent to 91.45 lakh last year from 94.38 lakh in 2014, while Foreign Tourist Visits (FTVs) decreased by about 32 per cent to 58,568 in 2015 from 86,477 in 2014, Sharma said.

He said the DTVs to different states and Union Territories recorded a growth of 11.6 per cent in 2015, while FTVs increased by 4.4 per cent.

Media reports have claimed thousands of tourists were fleeing violence-hit Kashmir and bookings were being cancelled due to unrest and consequent curfew in the Valley following the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8.

North Eastern states also account for casualties due to terror attacks, with a report stating that 413 people died in the region in 2014, with Assam being worst affected.

Sharma also listed out various state initiatives to boost tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, including special campaigns on the affected regions on TV channels, and allowing government employees to convert their home town Leave Travel Concession (LTC) to all India LTC for visiting these regions.