Kashmir tourism is expecting to break all previous records of tourist arrivals in the state. In 2011 around 1 million tourists visited the state which increased in 1.4 million in 2012.
This time around Kashmir tourism is hoping to do even better. Kashmir will benefit from the peace which has prevailed after some minor tensions following the hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru.
Following the hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru, there was some tension in the valley. Srinagar saw some protests and curfew was imposed but things have returned to normal. Interestingly a couple of months back, tour operators were worried that Afzal Guru saga may wash out the entire tourist season for Kashmir.
Tour operators say that local people understand the value of tourism therefore despite the effort by Separatists to continue the tension, things returned to normal. Now they are looking forward a good summer season.
The temperature has started to rise in most parts of India. Hill stations are perfect escape from the heat, which will lead tourists to Kashmir. The hotels in Srinagar have reported 60 per cent occupancy but expect it to increase in coming weeks once the summer holidays are started in schools of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
It has been slow start of the tourism season for Kashmir. As per the tourism department around 4000 tourists are entering the state every day which is less than 2000 expected by the state government.
However tourism officials are confident that situation will improve. A large chunk of tourists to Kashmir comes from Maharashtra and Gujarat. Schools across these two states haven't declared summer vacations just yet. This is why the tourist season had a slow start.