Srinagar, Apr 22: The Tourism Industry in Kashmir has suffered huge losses as there were 70 percent cancellations in the peak tourist season of May, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) and the Pahalgam Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association (PHAROA) said in a press conference here today.
President of the KHAROF, G M Dug, blamed the State Government for having no clear cut policy in promoting the tourism sector in the Valley. He also blamed the negative media campaign unleashed by some news channels and newspapers in India after recent killings in Kashmir.
The hoteliers strongly criticized the J&K Tourism Department for holding road shows and fairs at places wherefrom Kashmir receives less than 1 percent tourists while ignoring places like Mumbai, Pune, Ahmadabad, Kolkata from where more than 80 percent tourist arrival to Kashmir are recorded.
The hoteliers advised the Government to engage professional consultants to promote tourism activities in the Valley. They urged the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to personally lead the promotional campaign which will greatly help in revival of tourism.
One of the hotel owners on the condition of anonymity said that the Government has put a ban on the renovation of some important heritage hotels. He said it was impossible to attract more tourists if we are prevented from renovation.
The State Government should use the film stars as brand ambassadors to promote Kashmir as an attractive tourist destination as is being done by Gujarat Govt by using the image of Amitab Bacchan.
They also criticized the media organizations of Kashmir for not reporting extensively events like the recent arrival of film star Salman Khan at Pahalgam, which according to them would have sent a positive signal to the prospective tourists in rest of India.