Kashmir's tourism sector cries out for ending prolonged shutdown

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Srinagar [India], Sept. 25 (ANI): It is not only that people in the Kashmir Valley are suffering from the prolonged shutdown, but also the tourism sector that has been massively affected by the two-month-long unrest. The quaint and serene town of Pahalgam situated on the banks of the River Lidder in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the Kashmir Valley. Nearby places like Baisaran, Betaab Valley, Aru Valley, Kolahoi Glacier and Sheshnag are vibrant examples of nature at its scenic best. The Pahalgam golf course is also a major attraction for tourists, and there are around 200 hotels and lodges, besides hundreds of ponywallas, all of whom are dependent for their livelihood on a regular flow of tourists. The shoutdown is in 78th day, and people are fed up and want tourists to return to this paradise. "There are around 200 hotels in Pahalgam. Due to the unrest, we have suffered 100 percent cancellations from tourists. Hotel staff have left since there is no work available. We have failed to receive even one occupancy. Tourism has been immensely affected," a local hotelier told ANI. The prevailing situation in the valley has resulted in a sharp decline in tourist arrivals, with Pahalgam being the worst hit. As development infrastructure projects in the tourism sector have been badly hit, there are serious implications for the state's economy. Reportedly, several film crews who were scheduled to be in Kashmir for the shooting of their films in the summer, have also changed their location due to the prevailing situation in the valley. As per available statistics, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Yousmarg and other destinations have just two to four per cent occupancy which ought to have been 90-100 per cent around this time of the year. According to preliminary estimates the tourism sector has suffered a loss of around Rs.3000 crores due to the unrest and people associated with the tourism trade apprehend facing more economic adversity next year. (ANI)