Tourists question negative publicity towards Kashmir

Say valley safe than other destinations

BK Correspondent Srinagar
August 12, 2017 0 Comments STATE 144 Views
Tourists question negative publicity towards Kashmir

Amid uncertainty in the valley, some tourists have made it to visit Kashmir and left with a perception contrary to what national media was showing to entire India.

For Archana Gokhle from Pune, the trip to Kashmir was not easy as reservation grew within her family for her safety.

Before visiting here, her family members had been constantly asking her to cancel the trip and choose Shimla over Kashmir.

But she convinced them after a local travel agent assured to take care of her family.

“I can’t explain how much opposition, I had to see from my relatives about our plan to visit Kashmir.  But then we made it to visit to Kashmir and all this wrong notion about Kashmiris turned out to be wrong,” Gokhle said.

She said that people have been hospitable to her once they boarded the cab from airport to hotel.

“Locals here have been helping us. We had one girl with us whose arm got fractured but locals arranged everything for her. The scenery is equally captivating,” Gokhle said.

The valley has been witnessing a massive slump in tourist arrival since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.

The year 2016 saw an impressive 11 lakh tourists heading to the valley for vacations till July before Wani’s death. But the number came down to just one lakh in the next five months.

This year, the national media ran a campaign about the safety of tourists in the valley, which travel agent cited the prime reason for slump in tourist inflow to Kashmir.

It was followed by the intelligence report about the possible attack on yatris to Amarnath.

Mujeeb Ahmad a Travel Agent said that his company amid unconducive situation in valley has been getting some queries from the outside state based agents regarding packages for Kashmir.

“See, even a word of mouth is enough to change the misconception of people about Kashmir. Tourists who visit here tell their friends, families and colleagues that Kashmir is very safe for visitors. So some who really love exploring nature do visit in every situation,” he said.

He said that the culmination of the Amarnath yatra has also improved the flow of tourists to Kashmir compared to the previous months.

“Those who visit here for yatra the stay for few days in Srinagar or tour to some other destinations.  We are hoping in coming days, the flow of yatris will increase,” Umar said.

A week after the attack on bus ferrying Amarnath yatris on July, 10 which left seven yatris dead , the pilgrims said that there was nothing to fear in Kashmir.

The attack saw condemnation from business bodies, mainstream political parties and separatist groups.

The Yatra continued and so far as many as 1,67,937 pilgrims have performed pilgrimage at Amarnath cave in last 14 days.

“We went for darshan and then stayed some three days here at Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam. We didn’t saw any kind of problem as people from hoteliers to cab driver cooperated with us,” said Satish Kumar a visitor.

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