1.5 lakh tourists visits Kashmir so far, record visitors expected

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Srinagar, May 18 (UNI) About 1.5 lakh tourists from different parts of the country and abroad visited the Kashmir valley so far this year following an improvement in the overall situation.

Over the years tourists' influx had increased manifold, official sources said, adding against 28000 tourists in 2002, the number of domestic and foreign guests rose to about six lakh in recent year.

With further improvement in the security situation, the number of tourists will cross all previous figures during this summer because of hot weather in different parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt General S K Sinha said the tourism had a tremendous impact on the local economy, particularly the key sectors like hotel industry, transport, business and handicrafts.

He referred to the flourishing economy of Bangkok, primarily due to tourism. Tourism and soldiering were the main industries of Nepal.

He said Kashmir with its breathtaking scenic beauty has great potential. Tourism can give a big boost to the economy of the state, he added.

The State was participating in several travel marts all over to woo domestic and foreign tourists, an official spokesman said.

He said new attractions would be created so that the guests prolong their stay in the state and promotion of mountaineering- related activities could be one of such attractions.

UNI BAS SW HT1118

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