`Travel to Dubai cheaper than Kashmir’: Tourism players feel jitters as airfares go through the roof

Srinagar, Jun 21: Airlines companies have hiked the airfare from various destinations to Kashmir by more than 40 percent.

As such, the stakeholders fear it could impact the flow of tourists in the coming months when Kashmir usually remains abuzz with visitors.

A cursory look at the airfare chart by various airline companies suggests that a one-way trip from New Delhi to Srinagar costs between Rs 8000-11000 per person.

Normally the same ticket would sell at Rs 4500-Rs 5000 per person.

Similarly, an air ticket from West Bengal, where Kashmir receives the maximum tourists during the ongoing season, sells between Rs 13000 to Rs 20000 per person. A return ticket costs between Rs 15000 to Rs 20000 per person.

The airfare has also hiked for other destinations including Maharashtra and Bangalore, which contribute a major proportion of tourist arrivals during the summer season.

A round trip to Kashmir from Maharashtra costs more than Rs 20000 per person. The same is the case with Bangalore, where a round trip to Kashmir has hiked by more than 50 percent.

Tourism players fear it could impact the ongoing summer and autumn seasons during which Kashmir receives a major chunk of tourists.

It has left them worried as their Kashmir tour packages are getting costlier, hence unaffordable to many aspiring visitors.

“Airfare hikes have always been an issue with Kashmir tourism. It becomes one of the major deterrents to our promotion activities. We have been always requesting the government to curb the menace as we lose a huge chunk of tourists due to the unaffordable air tickets,” said the President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir Rauf Tramboo.

He said the Kashmir packages have become costlier due to the airfare hike by the airline companies. “Such is the situation that a trip to Dubai or Thailand becomes cheaper than a Kashmir trip. Tourists prefer international trips over Kashmir due to the airfare hike,” Tramboo said.

The stakeholders appealed to the government to regulate the airfare for a smooth summer and autumn tourism season in Kashmir. (With KNO inputs)

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