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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Despite unrest, tourists thrive

Himani Chandna and Ashiq Hussain, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, December 31, 2010
First Published: 00:55 IST(31/12/2010) | Last Updated: 00:57 IST(31/12/2010)

As the season’s first snow turned Kashmir into a winter wonderland on Thursday, tourists came in droves, putting the smiles back on the faces of those who make their living from tourism.

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After five months of violence and street battles sparked by the killing of a schoolboy in June, which marred the early promise of 2010 — the state welcomed 600,000 tourists till then — the tourism sector is keen on making up for lost ground in peace time.

Around 725,000 tourists — excluding pilgrims to the Amarnath shrine — have visited the Valley so far this year, according to the state tourism department. “This figure is the highest in the post-militancy period,” a department official said.

It’s even higher than the 650,000-700,000 figure posted in 1989, just before militancy erupted.

Hotelier Mohammad Hassan is hoping the snow keeps falling. “We are praying for more snow and more guests. Each guest brings a lot of hope,” he said.


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