‘Tourism deptt doing disservice to Kashmir hospitality sector’

Stakeholders ridicule `4 cr figure

MUKEET AKMALI

Srinagar, Dec 1:  The Valley-based tourism traders today came down heavily on the authorities in the tourism department accusing them of handling “this vital sector unprofessionally and doing a disservice to Kashmir hospitability sector.”
 Taking strong exception to a statement by Director Tourism, Talat Pervaiz in which he had claimed that the department had realized “Rs 4 crore on account of fine from tourism traders in the Valley found involved in cheating and malpractice,” they ridiculed the figure terming it ‘figment of imagination.’
 Several tourism bodies unanimously denounced the statement calling it “uncalled for and derogatory”.
 The traders said the department by issuing such “baseless” statements was doing a disservice to the tourism sector. 
 “It is very unfortunate that tourism department instead of encouraging the tourism players is discouraging us by issuing such statements which portray all tourism traders as cheaters,” said Rauf Tramboo, President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK). 
 “We the travel agents and other tourism traders work day in and day out to promote brand Kashmir, but such statements are pouring water on our efforts,” he said.
 Echoing similar views, Nasir Shah, chairman, JK Tourism Alliance told Greater Kashmir that the statement from tourism department is “shocking and unwarranted”.
 “It portrays Kashmir in bad taste. News and reportage by media is read by people across the globe and when they will read a report like this, what impression will they get about Kashmir?” Shah asked.
 The tourism traders alleged that the statement has been issued deliberately “to tarnish the image of Kashmir tourism trade.”
 Experts said the figure of Rs 4 crore dished out by the department “shows that there is total non-professionalism breeding in the department.”
 “As per the Tourism Trade Act, the department can impose a maximum fine of Rs 10,000 on a trader. If the Rs 4 crore figure is taken authentic that means the fine must have been realized at least from 4000 traders which then would signify that all the tourism traders are cheaters!”
 The tourism traders also lambasted the department for installing large hoardings at several places in Srinagar which according to them were doing a disservice to the tourism trade.
 “The messages written on the hoardings suggest that the Kashmir tourism traders are a bunch of thugs and rogues,” they said.
 Pertinently, the hoardings at several places read: “Avoid misbehavior with tourists. Treat them as their family members. Avoid harassing and touting tourists, etc.”
  “The other day a tourist asked me if the department really means what the hoardings are communicating. I could not answer and felt embarrassed,” said a handicraft dealer here.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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