Tourism advisory, postpaid gag over; Tourism industry still on crutches

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 ‘The valley based tour and travel operators still waits for the leisure visitors, as the few visitors are booked under official visit’

Gowhar Nazir

Srinagar, Oct 16(KNO): Despite revocation of two-month long tourism advisory and restoration of post paid mobile services after a gap of two months, the tourism sector, the primary source of economy to the strife torn valley, continues to remain on crutches as tourist influx continues to be dismal. Majority of hotels, houseboats and tourist resorts continue to wear a near deserted look.

According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the state administration led by Governor Malik announced roll back of advisory that was issued on August 3 asking tourists and pilgrims to leave Kashmir immediately, stands revoked and that tourists can visit Kashmir again from October 10 onwards and the same order was followed by the restoration of postpaid cellular services in Kashmir. The easing out of the travel advisory and partial communication restoration didn’t bear any fruits yet for the valley based tour and travel operators.

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“Yes there is no advisory for tourists intending to visit Kashmir as of now all domestic and international tourists can visit Kashmir but the challenging task for anyhotel administration is to ensure convenient means of transport, hassle free movement to the touristic spots, and safety remains top among all for the tourist who are booked under leisure and vacations,” MaarifanGul, Sales Managar at RK Sarovar Portico Group of Hotels, told KNO.

He said that even after the revocation of travel advisory and restoration of postpaid cellular services, the bookings of leisure visitors remain grim till now because of the reason of prevailing uncertainty which has led to suspension of public transport, closure of main markets, and clampdown on internet services.

He said that the revocation is undoubtedly a welcome step but every time they receive abooking call, the first demand from the visitor is free movement and shopping, which continues to be on standstill in the region in the aftermath of abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state in two Union territories. He further added, “Revoking the advisory at a time when peak tourism season is over, is of no fun but still we hope for the best.”

According to ShabirDangola, a houseboat owner, “The revocation of travel advisory and easing out of partial communication gag has brought a new hope for many of us as presently we are receiving the bookings but the demands for internet facility remains high in finalizing the deal. “

He said that tour and travel agents faced huge loss due to the government issued advisory and after easing out of advisory and mobile connectivity many boat owners like him are optimistic about the future out comings. He further added that, “The much needed service after the restoration of postpaid cellular service is the internet through which we can promote again our business and explore the beauty of Kashmir across the globe in order to attract the worldwide visitors.” 

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