The historically strife-torn regions of Jammu and Kashmir in India welcomed 16.2 million visitors so far this year, the most since British colonial rule ended in 1947, Reuters reported.

Largely driven by local tourists after Covid restrictions were lifted earlier this year, the tourism high mark was applauded by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government as a great stride forward.

Tso Kiagar, Ladakh, Kashmir Source: Debarup Mukherjee, VisualHunt

Modi withdrew Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir’s special rights in 2019, stripping it of its status as a state, a move that he said was about integrating the region with the rest of the country.

Tourism has always been an important part of Kashmir’s economy even when violence and danger were deterrents, as Skift reported in 2019.

India’s trade and tourism minister, Piyush Goyal, was ecstatic over the new tourism surge.

Foreign tourists still need a special pass to visit most parts of Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Reuters report.

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Tags: india, jammu, kashmir, tourism