Jammu and Kashmir has been reopened to tourists from today, more than two months after the government asked tourists and pilgrims to leave the state before it made the big announcement of ending the special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
In an order dated October 9, Jammu and Kashmir's Home Department lifted the travel advisory in the state following Governor Satya Pal Malik's instructions earlier this week. "The tourists desirous of undertaking visiting to the state shall be provided all necessary assistance and logistical support," the order says.
Thousands of tourists, pilgrims, workers and students from other states had to leave Jammu and Kashmir early August after authorities issued a security alert over possible terrorist attacks.
According to officials in the tourist department, about 20,000 to 25,000 visitors were present in the valley, which was in its peak tourist season at that time.
Govt of Jammu & Kashmir: Security advisory requesting tourists visiting J&K to curtail their stay in the Kashmir valley, is hereby withdrawn. Tourists desirous of undertaking visiting to the state shall be provided all necessary assistance & logistical support. pic.twitter.com/LOUcFT7x4u— ANI (@ANI) October 10, 2019
Telephone and internet services were suspended and public movements restricted in many areas hours before the centre announced its Article 370 move.
The centre also imposed massive security restrictions and took measures that included arresting politicians and posting extra troops to prevent any backlash.
Some of those curbs have been slowly relaxed, but mobile and internet communications in the Kashmir Valley are largely still blocked.
Kashmir's tourism sector - the backbone of its economy - is going through one of its worst phases since August. Since August, the valley is without tourists.
Sonamarg - considered the gateway to Ladakh region - is a picturesque resort in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district and usually remained crammed with visitors. However, the resort town looks deserted with most of the hotels, restaurants and shops closed for business.
1.74 lakh tourists visited Kashmir in June, followed by 1.52 lakh, including 3,403 foreigners, in July, according to official figures.
However, officials in the tourism department said the department has no record of tourist arrivals in August.