Govt lifts tourism advisory though communication blockade continues

Published on : Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has lifted its travel advisory requesting tourists and pilgrims to stay away from the region, but given the continuing communication blockade hoteliers and online travel agents don’t expect much of a positive response from travellers.

 

On October 9, the state home department announced the withdrawal of the security advisory issued on August 2, three days before the government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and announced bifurcation of the state into two union territories.

 

“The tourists desirous of undertaking a visit to the state shall be provided all the necessary assistance and logistical support,” the order stated.

 

Hoteliers and travel agents, however, said revival of communication is very important for the revival of tourism.

 

“It is a positive sign and we hope people start returning,” said Asif Iqbal Burza, managing director at Ahad Hotels and Resorts, which has a tieup with ITC Hotels for its Fortune Resort Heevan hotel in Srinagar and Welcome Hotel Pine N Peak property in Pahalgam. “But tourists need to communicate. They need to be in touch. Very few phones are functional here, and there are limited places for internet access.”

 

Mid-market chain Lemon Tree Hotels, which had shut its Srinagar hotel following the travel advisory, said it was not opening the hotel for bookings immediately, and would rather wait and watch for a fortnight.

 

Yatra.com said it has not seen too many enquiries. “But these are early days,” said Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer for B2C at Yatra.com. “We are hopeful that as things progress and if there is relative calm, tourists will start looking at making bookings again. Right now, some five-star and three-star hotels are accepting bookings on our portal. We are not sure about the smaller properties.”

 

Aloke Bajpai, cofounder of ixigo.com, said the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir over the past two months has already led to a 50 per cent drop in search enquiries for the year.

 

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