‘Early Elections Could Hit Tourism Trade In Kashmir’
27 December 2007
Srinagar: The proposed advancing of the assembly elections in J&K may be in the interest of politicians, but it has raised some serious concerns in the business community who fear the early elections could spoil the peak tourist season in the Valley. Many tourist traders told Greater Kashmir that if the elections were held somewhere between April to June 2008, it would clash with the tourist season in the Valley, which in turn could affect the overall business. “April-August is a peak tourist season which marks huge tourist rush from India and abroad to Kashmir. Holding elections at that time would give a setback to the tourist industry which plays a pivotal role in the state economy,” they said. “Election period in Kashmir is usually marred with tension and apprehension. The security measures taken in the run up to the elections and intensified troop movement would in no way be a good sign for the tourist trade,” a leading tour operator said. He said the election campaigning that starts a couple of months before elections would affect the tour and travel businesses severely. “The political rallies and the public-meetings ahead of the elections would disturb the entire season which the traders are eagerly awaiting,” he said, adding that the election related activities could have a direct effect on the bookings to Kashmir which are made months before the visit. The traders believe if the elections are held in September-October 2008, it would have a less impact on the business. “The travel traders and many other people associated with tourism trade rely on the tourists who visit Valley during the summers and if elections are held in the season tourist flow will be much lesser,” president Kashmir Houseboat Owners’ Association, Azim Tuman said, adding that if the elections are held in October it won’t have so much effect on the business. “People are well aware of the situation in Kashmir, if the state goes for early polls, the tourists will think twice before coming to Kashmir,” Tuman said.