SRINAGAR: The Department of Tourism has registered 251 complaints of various nature from tourists and visitors in respect of violations of J&K Tourist Trade Act-1978/2012 by respective service providers even as 247 of these were settled and fine to the tune of Rs. 21.95 lakh was recovered from the erring service providers.

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The Department, during this one year, also ensured refund of Rs. 11.82 lakh from respective service providers in favour of prospective tourists for having charged them arbitrarily or not providing them the services for which they were charged.

The Department has taken a series of recent initiatives to bring transparency and promptness in addressing any complaints from the tourists. Separate monitoring teams have already been set up at all destinations comprising respective Resort Officers, representatives from Development Authorities and Tourist Police.

This is in addition to a central monitoring team comprising senior officers to check the compliance of J&K Tourist Trade Act and ensure that tourists are treated in a manner befitting to the hospitality traditions of the place, they feel safe and in no way have any complaints of cheating, touting, overcharging.

The Department of Tourism has advised all tourism service providers to desist from any sort of cheating or overcharging from the tourists. The Department has made it amply clear that relevant provisions of J&K Registration of Tourist Trade Act-1978/2012 and other penal laws would be invoked in case of deviant stakeholders.

Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez along with Director, Tourism Kashmir, Fazlul Haseeb during a recent review meeting of the Department had given clear instructions for close monitoring by Resort Officers in this regard and not to allow any single service provider to damage the reputation of the whole tourism sector or genuine service providers.

A spokesman of the Department said though it was good that we are witnessing a bumper season of tourist arrivals, it was incumbent upon the stakeholders and the Department to ensure that tourists are attended decently, properly and charged fairly for the services they utilize so that they return back with memories as beautiful as Kashmir is known for.

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