Tourist trade bodies express concern over Kashmir advisory

Tourist trade fraternity of Kashmir has expressed concern over the government advisory asking tourists and Amarnath yatris to leave Kashmir immediately.

Various tourist trade bodies including J&K Hoteliers Club, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF), Association of Kashmir Tour Operators, Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir (CCIK) held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation. 

In a joint statement, issued after the meeting, the tourist traders said the government action is the last nail in the coffin of the tourism industry over here.

The advisory issued at a time when thousands of Yatris were at different stages of journey fearing an attack is very unfortunate, it said. 

“The decision to call off Yatra has tarnished the image and reputation of Kashmiris as being a tolerant society,” it said. “The advisory has also hugely damaged the reputation of Kashmir as a peaceful tourist destination.”

“The tourism fraternity wonders if the safety and security of people is not a priority for the Government. The Advisory asking tourists to leave the valley, huddling and evacuation of tourists from hotels, houseboats, resorts, guest houses has no precedent.”

They said Kashmir has never experienced an unpleasant act or incident targeting tourists.

The aftermath of advisory and tourist exodus will have disastrous consequences for hotel, restaurants, tour and travel segment, transport, handicrafts, wholesale and retail, shikara walas, ponywalas, daily wagers directly connected with tourism will be hit hard.

“We fail to understand how would you call a government advisory as a rumour. This is some food for thought. This advisory in actuality is a big crackdown on the populace of Kashmir,” read the statement.

“In the present circumstance, the first hit will be its workforce when the unit will not have finances, which is understandable that the workers will be laid off,” it said, adding, the interests and banking commitments and other recurring expenditure cannot be met as there will be no revenue generation.