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30.12.09 the winter chill sets in Jammu and Kashmir tourists both domestic and international are flocking the picturesque valley in large numbers giving a boost to the state's economy.

Though the tourist rush is not new to the valley,but compared to previous years, more tourists coming this December.

Local youths are happy as lot of employment is generated by the inflow of tourists and the local socio-economic aspects in Jammu and Kashmir thrive on tourism."It is cold right now and lots of tourists are coming in. Tourists from all over the country like Mumbai, Gujarat, Ahmedabad and Kolkata. I have never seen such a big rush of tourists before," said Rafiq Ahmed, a boat owner.

"Winter in Kashmir has its own charm and after coming here the environments is so different that it makes you forget all your problem. And after coming here you just want to be here and do not want to go anywhere else," said Yoginder Verma, a tourist from Delhi.

Clorin, a tourist from Hong Kong, expressed her desire to visit Kashmir next time again. was once a top Asian tourism destination, popular among honeymooners, skiers, trekkers and anglers, and attracting about a million tourists a year until 1989, when simmering anger against Central Government burst into a violent rebellion.

Recently, visitors have started returning to the scenic Valley as violence declined significantly.

Last year, nearly 500 thousand tourists and other visitors traveled to the Valley region to experience beautiful landscapes. By Afzal Bhatt


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