The Centre on Thursday withdrew the advisory asking tourists and visitors to avoid the state ahead of the move to make Article 370 inoperable. “The tourists desirous of undertaking visit to the state shall be provided all necessary assistance and logistical support,” it added.
People associated with tourism have welcomed the move. “It is really good if tourists start returning to Kashmir. The tourism sector in Kashmir has never been hit so badly, things are worse than what they were during the agitation following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016,” said Shakeel Rashid, who runs a shikara in the Dal Lake.
Tourism is the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy and a source of livelihood for lakhs of people. Prior to that advisory more than 5,21,000 tourists and 3,40,000 pilgrims visited Kashmir. July witnessed the maximum arrivals with 1,70,000 tourists.
Several migrant workers associated with the hospitality industry also left Kashmir in the wake of restrictions imposed after the Centre nullified the Article 370. “Our hotel is shut since August, we have retrenched the staff,” said Mohammad Subhan, a hotel owner in Srinagar. “Lifting of the advisory may help us to revive our business finally.”
The state government has asked all colleges and universities to start functioning from Wednesday. Although schools and colleges reopened, attendance was poor.