'Everyone is welcome': Kashmir hoteliers open doors for stranded tourists, offer free accommodation, food

Following the brief closure of the Srinagar airport Wednesday amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan, several hoteliers in Kashmir offered free accommodation to the stranded tourists in the Valley.

These included prominent hotelier Mushtaq Chaya, the Kashmir hotel and restaurant association (KHARA) and other hoteliers.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Chaya, also the chairman Jammu and Kashmir hoteliers club, said they will provide free accommodation to the stranded tourists in their Srinagar property—the Radisson Blu—during “this difficult time”.

“It is a gesture towards our beloved tourists who are stranded due to the prevailing situation in Srinagar. There are reports that many of them are running short of money as a result of which we have opened our doors for them,” he said, adding that “any tourist who wants to stay at our place—Raddison Blu—will not be charged anything”.

“Kashmiris have always shown their hospitality towards tourists and this time also we won’t let our visitors down,” he said.

Chaya said that any tourist in need of accommodation can contact the Raddison Blu management.

He also urged the members of hoteliers’ club and other hoteliers to come forward and help the distressed tourists.

“We pray that the tension between India and Pakistan de-escalates so that we (Kashmiris) can live peacefully. However, till the situation 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. Even holidaymakers presently in Kashmir are cutting short their stay.

Joint secretary, KHARA, Mehboob Mir appealed to the stranded tourists to contact them for accommodations.

“We will facilitate their accommodation and food till the situation returns to normal. Tourists are our guests and we shall open our hearts 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 tourists stranded in Srinagar.

“A tourism department official was enquiring about the welfare of tourists presently in Kashmir. I assured him that tourists are our honoured guests and we are dedicated to walk an extra mile to take care of their wellbeing,” said Manzoor Wangnoo, chairman, NTTA.

“We are offering free accommodation and food for all those tourists are stranded in Kashmir,” Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, chairman of The Kaisar Hotel.

Ahmad said his hotel, located at Jawahar Nagar (Srinagar), has 30 rooms.

“Everyone is welcome and they can stay with us till the situation improves,” he said.