The abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government on August 5 has affected the tourism sector in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), according to a report by Indiaspend.
The website, which has analysed the data from the tourism department, said in its report that tourist arrivals in Kashmir fell after the Centre's move, which came with a heavy troop deployment and communication clampdown.
According to the report, in 2018, Kashmir had received 316,434 tourists between the months of August and December, while in 2019, this number fell to 43,059 for the same period— registering a decline of 86 percent.
Ghulam Jeelani, the manager of a hotel in Srinagar, told the website that a day before the Centre's move, his hotel was almost fully booked, with 63 of its 88 rooms reserved. However, the day after the announcement, the bookings fell to three, and have not risen since, according to the report.
A month before that in July, Kashmir had received 152,525 tourists but the number fell to 10,130 in August and most of them, the report suggests, were in the first few days of the month. This number further fell to 4,562 in September, but rose to 12,086 in November 2019.
"The number slightly improved in November during the winter games at Gulmarg," a tourism official said. Tourism accounts for 7 percent of Kashmir's gross domestic product (GDP).
An analysis of the data from 2018 for tourist arrivals in the Valley suggest that as compared to August and September 2018, tourist footfall for the same period in 2019 fell by over 86 and 95 percent respectively.
Naturally, as a consequence of this, there have also been job losses. According to the report, there have been over 144,500 job losses in Kashmir's tourism and handicrafts sector since August last year.
The overall commercial losses caused in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 have been pegged at Rs 15,000 crore, as per the estimates of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"The back of Kashmir's tourism sector has been broken because of the situation emerging after August 5, 2019: Tourism is in a shambles while artisans and weavers are jobless," said Abdul Majeed, vice president of KCCI. He added that trade without "favourable conditions and the internet" is "unimaginable" in the present-day world.
"In one fell swoop, irreversible damage has been caused to the state’s economy; not a single sector has been spared," Majeed said.