‘Tourism across LoC has more potential than trade’

Existing tourism infra in bad shape; Kashmir needs 5-star hotels: KHARA, KHAROF

MUKEET AKMALI

Srinagar, Nov 19: The Valley hoteliers Monday said the tourism infrastructure in Kashmir was in “bad shape” due to ban on construction works/repairs at tourist spots.
 “Kashmir has adequate accommodation to host tourists but the hotels are in bad shape due to ban on construction works/repairs,” the hoteliers said.
 The hoteliers said there was need to set up five star hotels to accommodate high profile tourists including foreigners.
 “We have 2000 hotels with 50,000 room capacity in Kashmir— sufficient enough to cater to the huge inflow of tourists,” said presidents, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA) Showkat Chowdhary, and Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) Faiz Bakshi, at a joint press conference here.
 “In 2012, we accommodated more than 12 lakh tourists and there was no space crunch,” they said.
 Chowdhary said the two associations “are jointly holding a seminar on ‘Kashmir Tourism’ on Tuesday at SKICC where we will unveil our vision on Kashmir tourism.”
 “Union Tourism Minister, Dr K Chiranjeevi, Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah will be attending the seminar,” he said.
 He said Kashmir desperately needed five star hotels and government should also privatize Centaur hotel as that could be converted in an excellent five-star hotel.
 President KHAROF said the hoteliers were providing jobs to at least 60,000 people in Kashmir and “if tourism boom continues, 60,000 more unemployed could be adjusted.”
 He said that both associations support the idea of cross-LoC tourism. “We believe cross-LoC tourism has more potential than cross-LoC trade,” said Bakshi. Similar views were echoed by Chowdhary.
 They said the demand for repairing the existing tourism infrastructure should not be misconstrued as there was no need for new infrastructure.
 “We have an infrastructure that can cater to 20 lakh to 25 lakh tourists/year. But if Srinagar receives two lakh tourists at a time, there is going to be a problem,” said Choudhary.
 The two associations impressed the need for “restoring international status to Srinagar Airport.”
 “We want flights to and fro Srinagar-Delhi-Dubai and Srinagar-Delhi-Malaysia,” they said.
 To a question about environmental concern triggered by huge influx of Amarnath Yatris, Bakshi said they wanted environment friendly tourism in Kashmir.
 Meanwhile, both the presidents urged the government to hold an inquiry into the “attack on a local hotel, Silver Star.”

Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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