<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fledgling tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir has suffered huge losses post-Burhan Wani killing that sparked unrest in the valley. Curfews, hartals, stone pelting, and encounters have shaken the confidence of the tourists who have given Kashmir a miss after the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8 last year. Now, Jammu and Kashmir government is all set to introduce the Agriculture-tourism to showcase exotic agricultural products and increase the footfalls of the tourists in the restive valley.Under this ambitious plan, Gulgam Kupwara will be transformed as a model village for honey production. This area has a clean atmosphere and will be introduced to the world as new Agri-Tourism destination. Similarly, three areas have been identified as vegetable initiative clusters, which will be linked directly to the vegetable corridor of the country. More than 70 hectares in Pattan, Sopore, and Baramulla will be upgraded and every best technology will be provided to them so that the benefit is directly harvested by the farmers. Exotic saffron is another attraction that is seen as eye-catcher and can help in boosting the tourist footfalls“Every district is blessed with unique products. Like Gurez is blessed with ‘zeera’ (cumin), Kupwara with honey, Baramulla has a potential of producing exotic vegetables; Ganderbal has potential growth for potato, in addition to other basic varieties and so on”, said Sandeep Kumar Nayak, Principal Secretary to Government, Agriculture Production Department, Jammu and Kashmir. This brings a ray of hope to tourism sector here which has suffered a lot in the recent past. Official figures reveal that the tourism sector suffered a loss of Rs 3000 crore due to the unrest in 2016. Post Burhan Wani unrest has cost the hotel industry Rs 1100 crore. Official data revealed that around three lakh tourists had visited Kashmir between July 2015 and September 2015. The footfalls of tourist, however, were reduced to a trickle in the corresponding period of 2016 because of the post Burhan Wani killing unrest. Data revealed that this year around 7.9 lakh tourists visited Kashmir this year. They include over 2.6 lakh Amarnath pilgrims who visited the cave shrine this year. Last year 11.27 lakh tourists visit Kashmir most of them before July 8 when Burhan Wani was killed. “We need to come out of the local market. Let us focus on national and international markets. Foreign markets need assured supply line. May be three years after, we can. But Indian market is waiting for us. Quality vegetable of this state is better than others. So that our production should increase multiple times”, said Nayak.
Read this article: