PULWAMA ATTACK FALLOUT: Tourists cancelling their Kashmir vacations

The cancellation of bookings has worried the hoteliers as well as travel operators who eke their livelihood from the sector.

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 20 2019 11:48PM | Updated Date: Feb 20 2019 11:48PM
PULWAMA ATTACK FALLOUT: Tourists cancelling their Kashmir vacationsFile Photo

Tourists intending to visit Kashmir in coming months and had booked the vacations in the valley are cancelling their trips in wake of recent suicide attack on  CRPF in Pulwama, according to tour and travel operators. 

“The situation right now is that I had to refund all the money for bookings till April,” said Ather Yameen, general secretary, Travel Agents Society of Kashmir.

“Some travel operators outside Kashmir are out rightly saying to us that they won’t promote Kashmir.”

Situation for the tourism sector in Kashmir has again turned ugly said a prominent hotelier. 

“Tourists are cancelling their plans which results in huge losses for people who have invested in the sector,” said Showkat Chowdhary, president, Jammu and Kashmir Hotels and Restaurants Association.

The cancellation of bookings has worried the hoteliers as well as travel operators who eke their livelihood from the sector.

“This time of the year we receive pre-bookings for upcoming months, as booking packages ensure that the tourists get reasonable rates. But the negative propaganda unleashed by the media outlets outside Kashmir has resulted that even those who had booked packages are seeking refunds resulting in cancellations,” said Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya, chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers Club.

“We are optimistic that situation may improve in coming days, but yes, there is no denying the fact that intending tourists are cancelling their plans to visit Kashmir, which is not a good sign,”  Ashfaq Dug, president, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir.

As last year also, Kashmir tourism witnessed drastic dip in arrivals with only 8.5 lakh visitors, tourism players and the tourism department had pinned high hopes on this year hoping it could fillip the beleaguered hospitality sector.

However, the suicide attack on forces last week which resulted in protests across India and some right-wing leaders calling for boycott to Kashmir’s tourism. 

However, director tourism Kashmir expressed optimism that in coming days things will fall in place. 

“Due to aggressive marketing by government and private players, our houseboats were fully booked till June. However, the unfortunate incident has its repercussions. Feedback I am getting from tourism stakeholders is that there are cancellations of plans taking place for upcoming months which is not a good sign,” Wani said.

“Despite these events, we are continuing our promotion campaigns across India.”

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