Christmas Fails To Attract Tourists In Kashmir

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Valley hotels witness no occupancy: KHAROF; Tour Operators say never experienced such a situation before

Owais Gul

Srinagar: For the first time in last several decades, the Christmas has miserably failed to attract the tourists in Kashmir with almost all the hotels across Kashmir witnessing deserted rooms.

According to the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the hoteliers and tour operators across Kashmir said that it is for the first time that they have witnessed such a dry season.

The tourist footfall witnessed decline after the government of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State issued an advisory for tourists on August 03 this year, asking them to leave Valley at an earliest. The advisory was issued prior to the decision by central government on August 5 to repeal the Jammu and Kashmir’s special status (Article 370) and bifurcation of erstwhile state into two Union Territories—J&K and Ladakh.

President of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF), Wahid Malik said that all the hotels across Kashmir are empty. “The hotels across Kashmir especially at the famous ski-resort, Gulmarg were witnessing 100 per cent occupancy on this particular day, but this time, the situation is quite contrary as all the hotels are empty,” he said.

Malik said that such a dry season has never been witnessed before. “We have suffered huge losses after August 5 as the tourists couldn’t book hotels in Kashmir due to continuous suspension of internet services. Only few tourist visited our hotels in last couple of days and these tourists had booked the hotel rooms before August 5,” he said.

Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Secretary General, Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo told KNO that they were not been invited for any event today on the eve of Christmas. He added that the stakeholders were asked to join the government in promoting tourism in Kashmir, but the stakeholders are reluctant to go for any promotion till the prime demand i.e. restoration of broadband internet services is met.

Kuthoo further said Kashmir has witnessed uprisings in the past, but the tourist footfall remained satisfactory at that time. “The footfall of tourists this time is too low. We are experiencing such a situation for the first time in last some decades,” he added.

He added that reason behind such a low footfall is non-seriousness of the Jammu and Kashmir government in reviving the tourism sector. “It seems that the government is not serious in reviving the tourism sector in Kashmir,” he added.

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