The number of tourists arriving in Jammu and Kashmir declined after the revocation of special status to the erstwhile state with Kashmir receiving just 84,326 tourists and facing the brunt most compared to other regions, the govt informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

However, Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel said, the tourist footfall in Jammu and Kashmir is gradually increasing since previous couple of months.

Since August 2019, Patel said in his written reply to queries raised by CPI(M) Parliamentary Party leader Elamaram Kareem, the amount of tourist arrivals in Kashmir was 84,326 while Jammu had 87.94 lakh and Ladakh 1,00,931. the amount of pilgrims who visited Jammu since August 2019 is 76,80,775.

The government had revoked the special status under Article 370 of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019 and bifurcated it into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir also as Ladakh.

“Since 5 August 2019, the amount of tourist arrivals in Jammu and Kashmir has declined. The impact was felt more severely in Kashmir valley than within the Jammu division. However, the tourist footfall in Jammu and Kashmir is gradually increasing since previous couple of months,” Patel said.

“In respect of the handicraft sector, no noticeable job losses in J&K have happened since August 05, 2019. The artisans engaged in several handicrafts activities are continuing their job and therefore the government is providing support through different schemes and steps taken by the central government,” he added.

He said that the Ministry of Tourism has not conducted any formal study to assess the work losses of artisans and weavers, tour operators, houseboat owners, tourist transport, shikaras, hotel and restaurant industry, tour guides and other allied sectors.

As per the knowledge received from Jammu and Kashmir administration, he said, the govt released a stimulus package of Rs 5.67 crore as relief within the wake of Covid-19 pandemic for its disbursement among the tourism stakeholders.

The amount of relief which has been disbursed among the stakeholders is to the extent of Rs 1,000 per beneficiary per month for a period of three months, he added.

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