As the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department has started a special drive to vaccinate all tourism stakeholders, tourism players including traders, hoteliers, pony walas and labourers Sunday urged the authorities to carry out a special vaccination drive at Sonamarg. According to the tourism stakeholders here, the government's primarily focus remains on twin tourism places of Pahalgam and Gulmarg and that Sonamarg always remain less important for them.
They said that if the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department and adminstration had started a special drive to vaccinate all tourism stakeholders, Sonamarg too should be on priority in view of the tourism activities expected to start soon.
President Beopar Mandal Sonamarg Shabir Ahmed Lone told Greater Kashmir that though people above 45 years of age group had got the jab, people associated with tourism were mostly in the age group of 18 to 45 years and were yet to vaccinated.
President Hoteliers Association Sonamarg Shehzad Rasool said that the government had declared people associated with tourism as frontline workers and the drive was aimed at safeguarding the lives of people having maximum interaction with the public.
He said that the administration should carry out a special vaccination drive for the people associated with the tourism sector here so that the tourism activities resume.
He also urged the administration to screen the travellers arriving from Ladakh to Kashmir via Srinagar-Leh highway at Sonamarg.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) Mushtaq Ahmed Rather said that a special vaccination drive for tourism stakeholders had been started.
He said that in Sonamarg, people associated with the tourism sector had been asked to submit the details as soon as possible so that the vaccination process for the age group of 18 to 45 years was conducted.
The CEO said that the process to vaccinate all tourism stakeholders at Sonamarg was likely to be completed by next week in a special vaccination drive.
He asked all the stakeholders to take advantage of this drive and get vaccinated at the earliest.
Rather said such an exercise would induce confidence among the tourists and help in putting this sector back on track.
He said that vaccination was the only tested method the world over to defeat Covid-19 and gradually resume normal activities.
The CEO SDA requested all the tourism players not to give heed to rumours and avail this opportunity of getting vaccinated for their own benefit