Security restrictions affect tourism and trade at Amarnath Yatra

Tourist breaks, hundreds of pickets, truck stops on the national highway cause disruptions

Tourist breaks, hundreds of pickets, truck stops on the national highway cause disruptions

Unprecedented security restrictions imposed on Amarnath yatra allegedly hurt the tourism sector and the movement of agricultural products outside the Kashmir Valley, prompting protests from stakeholders on Saturday.

The decision of the Anantnag administration to set a deadline of 2:00 pm for tourists to leave the most visited tourist site, Pahalgam, and 12:00 am for the nearby Aru Valley, has led to the cancellation of scheduled trekking groups.

“About 2,000 travelers have canceled their plans in the Aru Valley. We managed to entertain only about 1000 travelers on other routes. Security restrictions have affected adventure tourism in Pahalgam, which is a trekking paradise. I don’t understand why the Aru Valley not associated with yatra there are restrictions on the itinerary,” said Raouf Trambu, adventure sports consultant at travel services company Highland Journeys. Hindu.

Kashmir is experiencing a tourism boom for the first time since 2019, when the Center lifted the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir. Strict security measures coupled with time limits for entry of tourists and yatris to the Valley, however, casts a shadow on recreational tourism.

The Kashmiris welcomed yatris and tourists alike since ages. This year, the security measures have only exacerbated the problems and caused huge damage to leisure and other segments of tourism,” said Farooq Kuthu, president of the Association of Travel Agents of Kashmir (TAAK).

Hundreds of picket lines set up across the valley have also slowed tourists to their destinations, including Gulmarg. Dozens of tourists heading to Srinagar from Kargil were stopped at Sonamarga for touching the valley after a set time on Friday.

“Many tourists missed their flights because of such stops. Many spent the night in their cars. Such bad memories for tourists will be bad for the future of the tourism industry,” said Mr Kutu.

TAAK is considering not accepting bookings from tourists to the Valley for the next 40 days until yatra ends August 11th. “Travel agencies outside of J&K stopped advertising Kashmir until mid-August. This has already reduced the tourist flow. Preferential treatment of Amarnath yatra affects tourism in Kashmir,” said Mr. Hutu.

In response to a question, Piyush Singla, deputy commissioner of Anantnag, said: “The Aru and Betaab valleys are not closed, but regulated. This is only for the benefit of tourists and yatriWith.”

Meanwhile, gardeners in Sopor in northern Kashmir held a protest on Saturday against a truck stop on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, which connects Jammu to the Kashmir Valley and is the main yatra Road.

“Trucks carrying…

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