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Lifting travel advisory : Tourism players not enthused

Srinagar, Oct 8: Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to lift travel advisory has failed to cheer-up tourism players given the internet gag and “negative publicity”.

Governor Satya Pal Malik Tuesday announced to revoke the travel advisory from October 10.  On August 2,government had issued advisory asking tourist and Amarnath Yatries to leave Kashmir citing militant threats.

“Revoking advisory will not have any impact. Our entire tourism season has been ruined. How is it going to benefit the travel agents when all bookings and reservation are done online? Internet is not working here,” Bashir Ahmad Karnai, member of Travel Agents Society of Kashmir, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Karnai said hospitality sector has borne the brunt of the advisory and the first thing government should do is to restore the communication.“At least broadband should be restored.  Convincing tourists to visit Kashmir when the advisory has created a fear psychosis, is going to be a challenging task,” he said.

Prominent tour operator said that many countries have followed J&K government and issued similar advisories asking their citizens to leave Kashmir.“How can we believe that tourists will visit Kashmir? Government has even failed to convince students to go to schools” Karnai said.

President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad said current situation will have its impact in coming years too.

“It is not like how much loss tourism sector has suffered. Its aftereffects can be even serious. Youth have lost jobs, hotels are empty and there is a huge stress on business sector in Kashmir,” he said.

“Peace is the prime requisite, which is missing on ground. The government has to create a conducive atmosphere in the state and win the confidence of the people, who are aspiring to visit Kashmir,” he added.