Flood Drowns Tourism Business in Kashmir, Falls by 55%

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KL Report

SRINAGAR

Considered as a heaven for tourist, the state of J&K has suffered hugely due to devastating floods. Sources said that thousands of tourists who had earlier planned their Christmas and New Year vacation in the valley next month are on the spree of cancellation of their booking and exploring other tourist centers.

 The largest employment provider tourism sector in Kashmir has been hit to the extent of 55% in post-flood disaster, according to quick random survey undertaken by ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF) in the last two months.

The peak season for domestic tourists going to Kashmir is mainly October, November and December. The major shares of travellers from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai people have re-scheduled their annual leaves during the Christmas and New Year season.

There is a steep fall in tourism business to the extent of 55% in Kashmir, adds the ASSOCHAM study.  “Floods in Kashmir have not only destroyed tourist infrastructure like hotels, bed and breakfast inns and restaurants but set back tourism for the entire state by at least five years”, ASSOCHAM report said.

The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) surveyed 450 tour operators from different cities and reveals that there is about 70-75 per cent cancellation of hotel rooms, airlines, trains have already taken place for Kashmir for the next 3-4 months.

 People fear of being trapped and therefore cancelling their trips, said D S Rawat, Secretary General while releasing the ASSOCHAM paper.

Nearly around 75% of travellers to J&K have cancelled their trips to Kashmir and the rest are thinking twice now and are looking for alternate travel plans besides cancellation of the existing tour, said the paper.

The study reveals that tourists are opting for “safer places” like Rajasthan, Goa even Kerala to spend their holidays. The report further adds that destinations like Jaipur, Agra, Udaipur and Mount Abu have benefitted the most with travellers making last minute bookings post shifting of their holiday plans.

 Majority of the tour operators reported that people are scared to travel to the state even after the situation returns to normal, adds the paper.

Hotels in destinations like Gulmarg, Palampur, Ladakh, which are largely unaffected by the natural calamity, are facing a near total cancellation in bookings.

 The paper further points out that people who make living on the tourism in Kashmir are badly affected. These people earn enough money in six months to make a living for throughout the year. Some are migrating to other states and start over again, Rawat said.

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