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    Unrest in Kashmir Diverts Tourists to Other Hill Resort


    by NTDTelevision

    Tourists who would normally be flocking to Kashmir at this time of year are now heading for the more peaceful hills of Himachal Pradesh. The flow to India's northern hill resort Shimla comes after growing unrest in Kashmir.

    Foreign tourists are heading for India's northern hill resort of Shimla after Kashmir was hit by violent separatist protests against New Delhi.

    In the past two months, about 50 people have been killed in one of the worst outbreaks of unrest in 20 years.

    Domestic and foreign tourists who usually go to Jammu and Kashmir in the rainy season to experience the scenic charm of the valley, now prefer peaceful hill states like Himachal Pradesh.

    [Ittai, Israeli Tourist]:
    "Of course, Himachal is more peaceful then Kashmir. In my case, I think I am not a typical tourist, in the sense that I come from a country that anyway we are told and there is a kind of an unspoken agreement, not to go to Kashmir."

    The sudden increase in tourist arrivals has brought cheers to the travel and tourism sector.

    However, the state chief said he would prefer tourists to flock to his state to enjoy its natural beauty, rather than to avoid the conflict in Kashmir.

    [Prem Kumar Dhumal, State Chief, Himachal Pradesh]:
    "We don't want the tourism in our state to increase because of the crisis in other states; we want the tourism in our state to increase because of the natural beauty of the state, the good behavior of the people and the facilities we provide to the tourists. This is what we make efforts for."

    Thousands of foreign tourists visit the hill states in the rainy months of July and August.

    However fewer tourists have traveled to Indian Kashmir recently because of the unrest.