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Tourist bodies in Kashmir come together to help tourists stranded due to heavy snow

Last Updated on January 8, 2021 at 7:06 pm

Tourists have finally started to visit Kashmir after a gap of 16 months. As numbers of COVID-19 infections went down because of snowfall in the region, tourists started to visit the valley.

Tourism in Kashmir hit a low when on August 5, 2019, the special status of the erstwhile state was revoked and the government imposed restrictions on the movement of people and communication for many upcoming months. A few days before J&K’s special status was cancelled, thousands of tourists in Kashmir were asked to leave the Valley and later, lockdown was called on in many places of the UT. Moreover, pandemic also caused significant damage to the tourism sector.

Tourism Department shared data that around 20-30 tourists arrived in July last year. Since December 25, these numbers witnessed a huge shift counting around 1,000 visitors per day. Snowfall played quite a role in attracting visitors. However, these numbers were affected as surface and air traffic was suspended because of heavy snowfall.

Many tourists who have some financial issues are being taken care of by travel, trade and tourism bodies in Kashmir who are assisting these stranded tourists and providing them with accommodation without any charge. These bodies have formed a forum and put up phone numbers in social media for those tourists who seek help. The forum said that many tourists are stuck in Srinagar in this heavy snowfall. Tourism forum can understand the difficulties they are going through and they will be the helped with whatever forum can.

Abdul Hameed, chairman of the Houseboat Owners’ Association, said that whoever is stranded, is in need of a room, can’t afford boarding or lodging or has to overstay because of closure of roads and airport, forum will help them. He said that many of his friends and associates are lending their houseboats, hotels and even vehicles for stranded tourists.

In Gulmarg, the deputy commissioner of Baramulla has requested hoteliers and others to allow the stay of tourists and guests until the weather improves. He said that CEO Gulmarg Development Authority and Assistant Director Tourism will ensure the necessary compliance and establish help desk for the purpose.