As expected, tourism in the state of Jammu & Kashmir took a hit owing to the continuing tension between India and Pakistan. A number of countries, including the UK, USA and Australia have issued travel advisories for their citizens, advising against any travel plans to the state in the near future. Citizens of the said countries have been asked to exercise “high degree of caution” while making any travel plans to the state.
Thankfully, parts of Ladakh, including Nubra Valley have been excluded from most of the advisories and might be able to still attract tourists.
Reportedly, unrest at the Indo-Pakistan border has led to an increased cancellation in the number of travel bookings for the upcoming tourist season. The brewing tension led to the closure of airspace in many parts of Northern India as well as Pakistan and also affected travellers intending to visit Punjab and parts of Rajasthan.
Pranab Sarkar, President of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, said “Many countries have updated travel advisories for India, and overseas travellers are worried as a lot of last-minute cancellations are happening. The Pakistani airspace closure has also been a cause for concern. Tourists had to face late arrivals as they missed their accommodation and sight-seeing bookings in the last two days. Those who haven’t started on their travel are calling off their trip.”
Locals are hoping for rapid de-escalation of the unrest between the two countries, and awareness initiatives by the government to attract visitors as usual.