Malaysia tops in sending the highest number of tourists to Kashmir. China features among the top ten countries from where visitors arrived in Kashmir

Even though the relationship between New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur soured following the Malaysian prime minister’s remark on Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year, travellers from the country outnumber those from other countries among those visiting the Valley in 2019.

China features among the top ten countries from where visitors arrived in Kashmir during the past year. In total 26,662 foreign tourists from 106 countries visited Kashmir in 2019.

According to the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) data, at least 9,822 Malaysian tourists visited Kashmir until November 2019. This number is more than double that of travellers from the country second on the list, Thailand.

Almost one-third (3,145) of the travellers from Malaysia visited the Valley in April alone.

In November last year, amid escalating tensions, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department mulled a plan to drop Malaysia from its tourism promotion campaign. The department explored the possibility of substituting the country with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. If the department is serious about such a move, it would have to ensure a massive promotion drive. During 2019, Saudi Arabia and UAE combined sent just over 100 tourists to Kashmir.

Visitors from China, Pakistan and other countries

The data shows that 543 Chinese tourists also visited Kashmir in 2019, until November. According to official figures, around 75 tourists from the country came to the Valley to enjoy their holidays after the August 5 decision.

Apart from China, tourists from troubled states like Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Yemen also chose Kashmir as their holiday destination in 2019. The figures show that 11 Pakistani, 24 Yemeni, 13 Iraqi and four Syrian tourists visited Kashmir last year.

Among 11 Pakistani, five visited the Valley after August 2019.

A popular destination for Thai tourists

Tourists from Thailand were second on the list, with the country sending 4,572 visitors to Kashmir in 2019. April saw 2,228 Thai arrivals and August saw the lowest, with just 65.

Indonesia with 2,918 and Bangladesh with 2,446 tourists are third and fourth in the list.

Among the tourists who landed in Kashmir in 2019, many belong to the US, Singapore and UK. Around 731 American tourists travelled to Kashmir in 2019. Similarly, 706 tourists from Singapore and 575 from the UK made the trip to Kashmir last year.

The data shows that 326 Israeli and 66 Iranian travellers also arrived in Kashmir in 2019.

(Courtesy: The Wire)

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