Accusing a few sections of Indian electronic and print media of biased reporting with regard to tourism industry in Kashmir Valley, the Kashmir Hotel And Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) and Pahalgam Hotel And Restaurant Owners Association (PHAROA) Wednesday said that they were shocked after going through some biased reports that have appeared in some newspapers in Gujarat and Mumbai.
“These newspaper reports made it amply clear that they are hell-bent to mislead the tourists about Kashmir situation and their only motive is to stop the Indian and world tourists from visiting Kashmir,” said President of KHAROF, Ghulam Muhammad Dag, during a news briefing in Srinagar.
Displaying the translated copies of “The Daily Gujarat Samachar” and “Mumbai Samachar,” Dag said that these papers have been twisting the facts and have been giving an impression that the situation is not conducive for tourists in Kashmir.
“Nowhere in Kashmir 200 Gujarati tourists were stranded. It was a sheer lie that was printed by the Gujarat based newspaper that tourists are stranded due to violence and curfew in Kashmir,” he said.
KHAROF and PHAROA appealed Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed who is also the Minister of Tourism to personally lead the promotional campaign. “We are sure that it will make a huge impact,” they added. “Tourism is once again bleeding. The tourist arrivals have hit at the bottom.”
Kashmir’s tourism industry has suffered a huge loss due to September-2014 floods but we are surprised that even after eight months, the government has not come forward to help out the industry when on the other hand we are only hearing about the need to construct more hotels. We would like to know government’s plans to protect existing huge hotel infrastructure,” they said.
“Tourism Sector in coming times could only grow with the presence of a broad-based infrastructure of 3500 hotels, resorts, guest houses, home-stays and 950 house-boats in private sector that is sufficient to accommodate about 30,00,000 tourists on year-round basis. The industry, however, has faced challenges on regular basis but has survived due to the resilience and sacrifice of the people connected with it. We are, however, worried that if the present state of affairs continues, it will affect the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people,” they said.