Tourism Business In Kashmir Affected Due To Rumours Of Taliban Presence

17 April 2009

Srinagar: The reports of Taliban presence have affected the tourism sector in Kashmir. Though the reports have been denied by the army and Kashmir politicians, the news has already caused enough damage. 'Some channels ran the reports of Taliban presence in the region due to which the tourists got scared. This has affected our business badly. We are sitting idle and there is no work,' said Shabir Ahmed, a shikara owner. The tourist season in the valley has just begun and such reports are being seen as negative propaganda by the officials to dent the tourism business in the region. 'We suspect foul play behind these reports. It is an attempt to sabotage the tourism in the region. It has affected the business to an extent. We are trying our level best to soothe the tourists and make them understand that there is no such fear,' said Mohammed Azim Toman, President, Houseboat Association, Kashmir. Tourism is the mainstay of Kashmir with thousands of residents engaged in the sector. The decline in number of tourists visiting the region has already started to take a toll on their livelihood. They want the government to take relevant steps to allay the fears of the visitors and entice them to come to Kashmir in large numbers.