Jammu : While last year saw a sharp decline in the footfall of visitors, the number of tourists visiting the Jammu region swelled in 2021 to around 99.84 lakh. But they were overwhelmingly Indian, with foreigners numbering just 36.
In 2020, a total of 343,886 tourists came to Jammu region — a sharp decline in numbers due to Covid-19.
An official of the Directorate of Tourism in Jammu told UNI that by December 8 this year, 99,84,378 tourists had visited to different destinations across Jammu region, with 52,24,153 of them paying obeisance at the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Reasi district.
In 2019, around 1.56 crore tourists visited Jammu region, with most of them visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine, proving again that tourism in the region revolves around pilgrimage, leisure, adventure, health and meditation.
The number of tourists who came in 2021 included those who went to Vaishno Devi temple (52.24 lakh),;Shiv Khori Cave shrine in Reasi (15,19,787); Patnitop in Udhampur district (582,928);
Mansar in Samba district (266,392); Sanasar (158,954); Suchetgarh in R S Pura Sector (112,797); Chichi Mata temple in Samba district (113,367); Sukrala Mata in Kathua district (272,728); Mata Bala Sundari also in Kathua district (10,697);
Ziarat Shahdara Sharief (11,58,376), Ziarat Sain Miran Sahib (248,525), Nangali Sahib in Poonch (39,216) and Bhaderwah in Doda district (14,243).
This year the number of domestic tourists was 99,84,342.
However, foreigners totalled 36.
The Suchetgarh point along the India-Pakistan international border was also a center of attraction this year as the government, after clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs, introduced a Beating Retreat ceremony on the pattern of India-Pakistan border in Amritsar by the BSF.
Although the Pakistanis were not engaged in this, the ceremony still attracted lot of tourists.
Pancheri village in Udhampur district was also in limelight after it was announced as the first Tourist Village with 32 ‘Home Stay’ facilities.
“After 2016 (Burhan Wani killing), the inflow of tourists to Jammu region has increased,” a tourism official said. “But in 2019, the inflow fell in view of the situation erupted after revocation of Article 370 when the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.”
The Directorate of Tourism has made vigorous efforts to promote tourism spots and invited tourists from across the globe to visit Jammu and Kashmir and explore its scenic beauty.
It has also appealed to tourists to ascertain that their safety is an utmost priority.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has identified as many 75 locations to be promoted as tourism hubs across the Union Territory.
The administration this year organised a three-month festival from October to showcase tourist destinations and the rich culture of the Union Territory to attract more tourists.