March 2019 News

Tourism Players Vow To Counter Negative 'propaganda' About Kashmir

4 March 2019
Greater Kashmir
Saqib Malik

Srinagar: Government of India and various state government's must identify and expose 'anti-social and communal' elements outside Kashmir who have launched a negative boycott campaign against the Valley which asks intending tourists to not visit this region, Kashmir's tourism fraternity consisting of 18 associations along with leading business chambers said in a press conference on Monday. These include Kashmir based tour operators, hoteliers, houseboat owners who have been supported by leading trade and commerce bodies. Addressing a joint press conference, Nasir Hamid Khan, senior-vice president, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), representing the Tourism Inc said heads of various tour trade organisations will personally visit states outside the Valley to counter 'boycott Kashmir' campaigns. 'Today Kashmir's trade fraternity including tourism players has come forward to defeat the motivated propaganda. Outside Kashmir there are not just fringe elements in travel trade but other walks of life also who have spread boycott campaign against Kashmir,' said Khan. 'Such elements need to be identified and brought to book,' he said. Khan said it was quite unfortunate that social media and national-level television news was spreading the 'hate-campaign' against Kashmir tourism. 'We urge people that they must personally visit Kashmir to know the difference between the reality and the propaganda. We are here to spread a message of peace and communal harmony and send out a positive message that Kashmir has been hospitable even in most testing times,' Khan said. Kashmir's tourism players have decided to join hands to find ways for 'saving' this loss-making industry. Several tourism associations of tour operators and hoteliers held joint meeting here on Monday to discuss the ongoing decline in the tourism industry due to the fragile situation. Speaking with Greater Kashmir, tourism players said they have come under an umbrella body to formulate a 'damage control' mode. 'Since February 14 our hotel has received maximum bookings of 2-3 room occupancy on a daily basis. There has been cancellation of almost 80 percent in last two weeks,' said a hotelier not wishing to be named. Tourism players say there has been 'complete inaction' from state government for coming to rescue of tourism industry saying they have decided to jointly work to find-out some ways to save this sector. 'Tour operators were hoping to cash-in on the Tulip and almond bloom season beginning later this month but with the prevailing situation the spring season seems to have become a dampener,' said a houseboat owner. Among the associations who have joined hands to work together for saving Kashmir tourism includes Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry, PHD Chamber J&K, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA), Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF, J&K Hoteliers Club, Pahalgam Hotel and Restaurant Owners (PHARO), J&K Hotel and Restaurant Association (JKHARA) , Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK), J&K Tourism Alliance (JKTA), Tourist Trade Interest Guild (TTIG), Nigeen Tourist Traders Association (NTTA), Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK), Travel Agents Federation of Kashmir (TAFOK ), Domestic Tour Operators Association of J&K, TAAI JK CHAPTER, Houseboat Owners Association (HBOA, Urban Travel Agents Association (UTTA).