Travel advisories discouraging visits to Kashmir still in place

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KC NEWS DESK

Srinagar: During the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting held here in May, the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Centre made a resounding declaration that one of the summit’s goals was to persuade countries to remove travel advisories that discouraged tourists from visiting India, particularly Kashmir.

However, not much has changed, and several nations, notably the United States, the United Kingdom and other G20 member nations have maintained their positions regarding their citizens visiting Jammu and Kashmir.United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), in its ‘Foreign travel advice for India’ says, “FCDO advises against all travel to the region of Jammu and Kashmir (including Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, the city of Srinagar, and the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway), except for travel by air to and from the city of Jammu, travel within the city of Jammu and travel within the region of Ladakh.”

“FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Manipur,” the fresh advisory read.

In case of emergency travels, British nationals have been asked to avoid protests or large gatherings, follow the advice of the local authorities and your travel company and monitor local media and follow any curfew restrictions.

Pertinently, in 2022, the number of foreign tourists in Kashmir increased manifold, but people who are dependent on tourism for their livelihood say that the foreign tourists benefits them higher than those from Indian mainland.

Tourism contributes nearly 7% to Jammu Kashmir’s GDP generating around Rs. 8,000 crores annually.

Commenting on the fresh advisory, Senior journalist Ahmad Fayaz wrote on X that, “Notwithstanding a remarkable increase in the number of the foreign tourists visiting the Valley in 2022 & 2023, coupled with a significant transition to peace, and contrary to the prevalent G-20 spirit, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (@FCDOGovUK) has issued a fresh advisory asking British nationals to not travel to Kashmir. In a fresh advisory issued on 6 September, 2023, FCDO has asked the British nationals to refrain from traveling to certain parts of India including Kashmir or else their travel insurance could become invalid. FCDO has advised against all travel to Srinagar, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg and the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The J&K Government, @JandKTourism in particular, in close coordination with @MEAIndia and other Ministries at the Centre, need to put their act together and ensure that the FCDO negative advisory is withdrawn sooner than later.”

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