The announcement by the United Kingdom to lift travel advisory for Jammu and Kashmir has come as a morale booster for tourism fraternity in the state.
"It is a welcome step and we thank the governments of the UK and India as well as the state government. It will boost tourist arrivals from foreign countries," Azim Tuman, Chairman Kashmir House Boat Owners Association.
"Foreign tourists have always been the main buyers of carpets and our carpet industry has been struggling because of such advisories. Now, we hope it will get a boost," he said.
"The people associated with the tourism trade see it as a positive step and hope other countries will follow and soon lift their respective advisories," Tuman said.
Describing the announcement as a good step, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association president Showkat Choudhary said it would have a very positive impact on overall tourism in the state.
He said there would be a definite increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting the state next year.
Choudhary said he was hopeful other Commonwealth nations would also lift their advisories.
"This will also have a positive impact on the domestic tourist arrivals as it will boost their confidence as well," he said.
The traders' community also expressed happiness over the announcement by the UK government.
"We are very happy to know that the UK is withdrawing the advisory. Our business has been severely affected due to such advisories. We hope to see a surge in the foreign tourist arrivals which will increase our business," said a trader in Boulevard area on the banks of Dal Lake.
UK High Commissioner to New Delhi Sir James Bevan in a letter to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah yesterday announced lifting of negative travel advisory for its citizens to parts of the state.
"The improvement in the security situation has led us to lift the advisory against UK citizens travelling to both the cities of Jammu and Srinagar," the letter read.
Terming the announcement as a "giant leap forward in tourism promotion", a government spokesman said the initiative was likely to give tremendous fillip to the inflow of foreign tourists to the Valley and other parts of the state in the next tourist season.
This would not only generate wide-ranging economic activities for the people but give considerable impetus to the development of tourism, he said.
The lifting of advisories would restore the visit of foreign tourists and flourish business and trade in the state, the spokesman