Srinagar, Nov 9: The United Kingdom government’s strong indication to withdraw adverse travel advisories on Kashmir has enthused the Valley tourism traders, who believe it would lead other European countries to follow suit.
The tourism traders said it will be a “significant development” that will help boost tourism sector in the Valley and will encourage other countries to follow the suit.
Pertinently, last two decades of conflict have adversely affected the tourism sector in the Valley. But with countries like Germany and now UK lifting the travel advisory, tourism players here are optimistic stating that “good days are back”.
Showkat Chowdhary, president, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA) described the announcement by UK government as “good for the tourism industry.”
“We are hopeful that other countries who have barred their citizens for visiting Kashmir would also follow the suit and lift the travel advisory,” Chowdhary opined.
He praised state government and tourism department for “pitching hard” and persuading UK government of finally agreeing to lift travel advisory. “We are optimistic that sizable number of tourists will visit Kashmir from UK next year,” Chowdhary said.
Rauf Tramboo, president, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) said that tourism players were “yearning for revocation of travel advisories for long by the western countries.”
“The keenness of the UK government to lift travel advisory on Kashmir will pave way for other countries to do the same, as the Kashmir’s tourism sector has suffered heavy losses due to the turbulent times during last 28 years, when most of the countries issued travel advisories,” Tramboo said.
He lauded the role of state government and tourism players for portraying Kashmir “as a safe tourist destination” which according to Tramboo was instrumental in persuading UK government to lift its travel advisory.
Muhammad Azim Tuman, chairman, Houseboat Owners Association hailed state government led by Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, Tourism department and tourism players for the development.
“We are hopeful that next year Kashmir will witness huge influx of tourist from UK. We appeal other countries who have put in place travel advisory to Kashmir to lift it,” said Muhammad Rafiq Karnai, Secretary HBOA.
Alkhuddam Group of Companies also hailed the announcement by the UK government.
Director Alkhuddam Group of Companies, Sheikh Ashiq who is also Executive Member of KCCI hailed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora and the MOS Tourism Nasir Aslam Wani for “making the situation reach the level that international community has started reviewing its opinion on travel to Kashmir.”
It is pertinent to mention that on Monday, UK government expressed its “readiness” to withdraw negative advisories on visit to J&K.