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Saturday, 8 March, 2008

Ladakh attracts more foreign tourists

Jammu (PTI): World's highest inhabited plateau Ladakh in the Jammu and Kashmir is a foreigners' delight as it receives more tourists from abroad than domestic ones every year.
"Ladakh is hot favorite tourist destination for foreigners. The cold desert - Ladakh is being visited more by the foreign tourists than domestic ones annually," officials of state tourism department said.
A record 50,185 tourists visited Ladakh in 2007, an increase of 16 per cent as compared to 2006's figures of 43900, they said.
"Of them, 28178 were foreign tourists and 22007 domestic. Every year, more foreign tourists visit Ladakh than domestic ones, as foreigners love Gompas and rock carvings dotted across cold desert," tourism officials said.
Similarly, 43,900 tourists visited Ladakh in 2006, out of which 26,070 were foreigners and only 17830 were Indians.
"Low intensity Kargil war and tension between India and Pakistan has had a negative impact on tourism in Ladakh over the years," a Leh-based tour operator said, adding that things are improving now.
Ladakh also known as Moonland, has always attracted foreigners, who had always outnumbered the domestic tourists since 1974, when frontier region of J&K was opened to them.
Wrapped in the golden silence of rocky terrain, Ladakh is a repository of myraid cultures, traditions, heritage spots, scenic sites and religious influences.
It has 30 to 40 odd ancient Gompas, two to three high altitude lakes, two dozen naked peaks for mountaineers, two dozen mountain reeks, markets etc, he said.

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