Tourists' exodus hits Valley | india | Hindustan Times
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Tourists' exodus hits Valley

india Updated: Jun 27, 2008 15:24 IST
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With no sign of a let up in the protests over the Jammu and Kashmir Government's decision to transfer 40 hectares of land to Amarnath shrine board, the valley is witnessing an exodus of tourists.

As the protests entered the fifth day on Friday, thousands of vehicles carrying tourists and Amarnath pilgrims made their way to safety in Jammu.

So far, hotels and tour operators of the valley have had nearly 35 per cent of their bookings cancelled.

An official of the state tourism department said more than five lakh tourists had visited the Valley this year and they were hopeful of record-breaking tourist arrivals in Kashmir.

"There have been more than 30 per cent cancellations due to turmoil in the Valley over the past few days. Unless there is an end to the crisis in next couple of days, the tourism sector will badly hit," he said.

Within a week of the commencement of the annual pilgrimage to the 3880-metre high Amarnath cave shrine, more than three lakh pilgrims have performed the yatra.

The authorities have beefed up the security along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway as more than 10,000 people including a large number of yatris were stopped from entering the Valley on Thursday.

"We have some information about trouble brewing at Khanabal, hence we are not allowing anybody to proceed beyond Ramban for the time being," Station House Officer Ramban, Ajay Jamwal, said.