Flood Drowns Tourism Business in Kashmir, Falls by 55%

SRINAGAR: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India has said Kashmir's tourism industry which has been badly hit by calamity has registered a steep fall of 55% in business.

The largest employment provider, tourism sector in Kashmir has been hit to the extent of 55% in post-flood disaster, according to quick random survey undertaken by Assocham Social Development Foundation (ASDF) in the last two months, D S Rawat, Secretary General of Assocham said while releasing the industry body's paper today. Considered as a heaven for tourists, the state of J&K has suffered hugely due to devastating floods.

Assocham study said that thousands of tourists who had earlier planned their Christmas and New Year vacation in the valley next month are on a booking cancellation spree and exploring other tourist centres, he said. The peak season for domestic tourists going to Kashmir are mainly in October, November and December, Rawat said adding a large share travellers from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai people have re-scheduled their annual leaves during the Christmas and New Year season.

"There is a steep fall in tourism business to the extent of 55% in Kashmir", adds the study. "Floods in Kashmir have not only destroyed tourist infrastructure like hotels, bed and breakfast inns and restaurants but set back tourism for the entire state by at least five years", says the report. Assocham surveyed 450 tour operators from different cities and said 70-75 per cent cancellation of hotel rooms, airlines and trains have already taken place vis-a-vis Kashmir for the next 3-4 months.

"People fear being trapped and are therefore cancelling their trips", Rawat said. Many travellers to J&K have cancelled their trips to Kashmir and others are thinking twice now and are looking at alternate travel plans besides cancellation of the existing tour, he said.

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