Kashmir big draw for Arab tourists

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Dubai, May 10 (UNI) Kashmir is becoming a big draw with Arab tourists after a couple of decades, according to senior officials of Kashmir Tourism and some private tour operators.

Senior officials of Kashmir Tourism and some private tour operators are actively participating in the Arabian Travel Mart in Dubai to persuade Arab and expatriate tourists to visit the picturesque Kashmir Valley.

According to Kashmir Tourism officials, their stall in the Indian Pavilion is getting very good response.The important aspect of West Asia visitors has been the return of families after a gap of a couple of decades.

A Kashmir Evening was organised in Royal Ascot Hotel which was attended by travel agents, airline representatives and media personnel.

For the last few years, Kashmir's tourism officials and the other players have been making efforts to woo back tourists from the West Asia region, especially from the Gulf countries.

However, in the last few years, tourism has been revived in a big way and foreign tourists have started coming back. The revival of Gulf traffic was initiated by the Galadari family from Dubai which visited Kashmir a couple of years back.

This year, the Bukhari family from Saudi Arabia and some members of Royal family, a minister from Oman, families from Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq visited Kashmir.

In addition some visitors from Iran also visited Kashmir. Even though the numbers are still low, yet a beginning has been made, said the tourism officials.

The Srinagar Airport, declared international airport by the Indian Government couple of years ago, is expected to be fully functional by next July. To begin with, direct flights from Dubai, Muscat, Jeddah, Bahrain, and Kuwait are proposed to be operated by Air India to Srinagar.

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