Following the brief closure of the Srinagar airportWednesday amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan, several hoteliersin Kashmir offered free accommodation to the stranded tourists in the Valley.
These included prominent hotelier Mushtaq Chaya, the Kashmirhotel and restaurant association (KHARA) and other hoteliers.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Chaya, also the chairman Jammuand Kashmir hoteliers club, said they will provide free accommodation to thestranded tourists in their Srinagar property—the Radisson Blu—during "thisdifficult time".
"It is a gesture towards our beloved tourists who arestranded due to the prevailing situation in Srinagar. There are reports thatmany of them are running short of money as a result of which we have opened ourdoors for them," he said, adding that "any tourist who wants to stay at ourplace—Raddison Blu—will not be charged anything".
"Kashmiris have always shown their hospitality towardstourists and this time also we won't let our visitors down," he said.
Chaya said that any tourist in need of accommodation cancontact the Raddison Blu management.
He also urged the members of hoteliers' club and otherhoteliers to come forward and help the distressed tourists.
"We pray that the tension between India and Pakistande-escalates so that we (Kashmiris) can live peacefully. However, till thesituation improves, we will do our bit to help the stranded tourists," he said.
Due to increasing hostilities between India and Pakistan,there have been massive cancellations of tourist bookings to Kashmir. Evenholidaymakers presently in Kashmir are cutting short their stay.
Joint secretary, KHARA, Mehboob Mir appealed to the strandedtourists to contact them for accommodations.
"We will facilitate their accommodation and food till thesituation returns to normal. Tourists are our guests and we shall open ourhearts for them in these trying times," he said.
As a goodwill gesture, the Nigeen tourist traders'association (NTTA) has also offered free accommodation and food for touristsstranded in Srinagar.
"A tourism department official was enquiring about thewelfare of tourists presently in Kashmir. I assured him that tourists are ourhonoured guests and we are dedicated to walk an extra mile to take care oftheir wellbeing," said Manzoor Wangnoo, chairman, NTTA.
"We are offering free accommodation and food for all thosetourists are stranded in Kashmir," Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, chairman of The KaisarHotel.
Ahmad said his hotel, located at Jawahar Nagar (Srinagar),has 30 rooms.
"Everyone is welcome and they can stay with us till thesituation improves," he said.