COVID-19: Drop In Tourist Arrivals Hits Dry Fruit Business In Kashmir

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Tourist Arrivals

Umaisar Gull Ganie
With a sharp decline in tourist arrivals in Jammu and Kashmir this year, the dry fruit business in the Valley has got badly affected with associated traders claiming to have suffered huge losses, especially from the past three months.

The popular dry fruit market in Qazigund, known as the Gateway of Kashmir, which otherwise remained flooded with the tourists, wore a deserted look as all the shops, hotels and other establishments in the market continue to remain closed.

The local shopkeepers told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that from the last 11 months, the tourism sector in the Valley has got badly affected, which not only resulted in losses to the people but has also rendered thousands of people jobless, who were directly or indirectly dependent on this sector.

Shabir Ahmad Shergogri, who runs a dry fruit shop in Qazigund said that they have not earned even a single penny from last one year. He said after the August 5 decision last year, they have not resumed their business activities so far. “The dry fruit business is fully dependent on tourists,” he said.

“With no flow of tourists, our dry fruit worth lakhs of rupees got rotten,” he said, adding that most of the dry fruit sellers belong to poor families and have no other source of income. “We can’t resume the business activities again without the government support,” another shopkeeper said.

President of Trade Association Qazigund, Mohammad Yousuf Choh told KNO that the traders have lost Crores of rupees from past one year due to different reasons.  “Government must assist the poor shopkeepers by announcing a special package at an earliest,” he said—(KNO)

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