Srinagar, Nov 30: The J&K tourism department’s promotional blitzkrieg has suffered a major setback as the tour agents have decided not to participate in any such programme till internet is restored in the valley.
Encouraged by the recent snowfall, the department had officially come up with a list of promotional activities scheduled to take place in various states and even other countries.
The schedule, which includes 20-25 road shows and cultural events, will begin from the third week of December till the second week of February.
Last week, the department held a meeting with multiple amalgams of people associated with tourism sector inviting them to participate in these promotional activities.
A week later, these amalgams have decided not to participate in the promotional campaigns since they believe that it won’t fetch any results if the government continues with the ongoing internet blockade.
“We have decided not to participate in any promotional activity as internet and prepaid mobile services are still barred in Kashmir. Not all of our guests have postpaid connections and they really dislike visiting a place with no internet,” said a senior member of a noted travel agents association, who wished not to be named.
Tourism, the second largest industry in Kashmir, has witnessed least activities after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. The government had also issued an advisory on August 2, calling all tourists to cut short their visitsto Kashmir.
Soon after the removal of the advisory on October 10, official figures reveal that as many as 10,000 tourists have visited to the valley.
The figure is 95% less compared to 1,85,057 tourists who visited the valley in the same period last year.
Giving details about the promotional schedule framed by the tourism department, a source who was a part of the meeting said that multiple activities have been planned by the department.
As per the list, promotion at domestic level will begin in Mumbai in the third week of December, while similar activities will be held in Thailand on January first week.
In the fourth week of December, the tourism department will conduct fairs and road shows in Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
In January first and second week, the department as per the schedule will participate in the tourism trade fairs in Nagpur and Bangalore. During the same week, tourism activities will be held in Indonesia.
As per the schedule, the department in third and fourth week will cater to the agents of Kolkata and Bhubaneswar at the domestic level and Bangladesh and Sharjah at the foreign level.
The department will be set up stalls in Chennai and Ranchi in first and second week of February month.
Director Tourism Department Kashmir, Nisar Ahmad Wani said the department will go ahead with the promotional programme as per the schedule.
“We have finalised the schedule, which will begin after December 15. Right now we can’t sit in hibernation in absence of internet. Simultaneously we are expecting that net will be also available for tourists,” he said.