The National Conference (NC) has dismissed the government’s claim that the tourism industry in Jammu & Kashmir had broken all records last year with more than 1.60 crore tourists visiting the Union territory as “propaganda”.
The NC was apparently reacting to the claim made by government functionaries during the G20’s Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar.
Taking to its Twitter handle, the party said, “It takes a little bit of analysis to make sense of these numbers.
The party noted that the government has suddenly come up with this figure of 1.60 crores with a claim that for the first time since Independence, those many tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir.
“We have been in the government and never been able to get more than 14-15, maybe 16 lakh at the most, tourists in a year. What the hell did we do wrong,” the NC said.
The NC further said, “Also, where do these tourists stay as we haven’t seen any new hotels, new accommodations. Yes, some people have converted their houses into guest houses and homestays. So, where did these 1.60 crore tourists stay?”
“But then, when we start looking at the numbers, we realise that actually all that the government has done is reverse a previous decision, which is that the previous governments didn’t count yatris (pilgrims) as tourists. Hardly any yatri actually performs the activity of a tourist. Now, the government has started counting yatris as tourists, hence the inflated number! Easy to juggle with the numbers when you change the entire methodology,” the NC added.
It is worth mentioning here that while addressing the participants of the G20 meeting, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha said a record number of 18 million tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir and, last year, the tourism sector made 7 per cent contribution to Jammu and Kashmir’s GDP.