"In 2013 the number of tourists visiting the state was 13 lakh. But in 2014, it dipped to 12 lakh. This year we are expecting 15 lakh tourists...", Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Tourism Kashmir, Director, Talat Parvez said.

"Of course, due to the floods, there has been a dip in the number of tourists who visited us, he said.

Asked about the development in those areas which were affected by the floods, Parvez said some of the tourist places like near the Jhelum river were hit but things were now normal.
    
Some of the roads that was cut off due to the floods have been repaired and connected with the towns, Parvez said.

On the initiatives taken by the tourist department this year, he said the state Government has decided to open 20 new sites and 50 villages for tourists which were not opened earlier.

Besides, doing away with the permit system for foreign nationals visiting Jammu and Kashmir by the Ministry of Home Affairs is also expected to bring in more tourists from overseas places, he said.

The number of foreign nationals visiting Jammu and Kashmir last year stood at 47,000 which he expects will touch over 50,000 in 2015. People from South East Asia constituted the largest number tourists who visited Jammu and Kashmir followed by Europeans and those from Middle East, he said.

On the domestic segment, he said people from Maharashtra and Gujarat topped the charts in visiting Jammu and Kashmir followed by Southern States like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Targeting the business communities, Parvez said the Government plans to add more number of rooms for corporates who have been visiting Ladakh region in large numbers. "In 2014, the number of people who visited Ladakh was 1.78 lakh", he said.

To a query, he said the state government plans to increase the number of rooms for tourists to 40,000 in the next two years all over Jammu and Kashmir from the present 25,000 rooms.

Besides, home stays or paying guest accommodation offered in some areas would also be increased to 20,000 rooms from the current 12,000, he said.

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