Omar Abdullah makes impassioned appeal to tourists not to cancel trips
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah has tweeted a series of appeals to tourists urging them not to cancel their tours to the Valley in haste, after media reports said hotel bookings were being cancelled due to the flood threat.india Updated: Apr 01, 2015 21:04 IST
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah has tweeted a series of appeals to tourists urging them not to cancel their tours to the Valley in haste, after media reports said hotel bookings were being cancelled due to the flood threat.
"Those of you with bookings to visit Kashmir please PLEASE don't rush to cancel. Instead I request you wait to see how things develop," (sic) Abdullah wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Abdullah wrote that the tourism industry suffered a lot due to the flood in September and less snow in the month of January and that cancellations this season would be a big blow to the industry.
"The tourist industry had a disastrous Autumn & a really bad winter because of the floods. Finally things were looking up in April. Now because of the recent rains & accompanying news stories hotels are reporting up to 40% cancellations which is a disaster for them.
"So my earnest appeal to you is please keep the faith, don't rush to cancel. Wait to see how the next few days go & then decide," the former chief minister tweeted.
An earnest Abdullah also asked his followers to re-tweet his tweets as a "favour" to the Valley's tourism industry.
April is otherwise a lucrative season for tourism in the region, ringed by lofty snow-clad Himalayas. Also, the Tulip Garden would be thrown open this month and many people would come to the state to see the flowers. The domestic tourist would also flock to the Valley as mercury rose in the rest of the country.
But, today a good tourism season seems bleak. "There are a lot of cancellations. People mostly from Gujarat and Maharashtra used to visit Kashmir during April. The news of floods is even casting a shadow on May as well which is the peak tourist month,'' said Omar Tibetbakaal, owner of Labaika Tour and travels.
While hotels have registered over 40%t cancellation, airfare to Srinagar has also come down from what it was just a week ago. "Last week fare for Delhi -Srinagar would touch Rs 20,000. Now one can get tickets for as much as Rs 4,500 to 5,000,'' he added.
The floods in September last year had hit tourism as most of the hotels and restaurants in an around the famed Dal lake were damaged. Of late, the government was hoping to revive tourism in a big way and had planned promotional activities across the country and even abroad.
Fear is lurking as rain hit the Valley since Saturday, and a fresh spell of wet weather started Wednesday, just when the Jhelum river had begun to recede.