Skyrocketing airfares choking Tourism in Kashmir


Srinagar, Feb 15: Notwithstanding the tourism promotion drives by the Jammu and Kashmir government in different states of India, the unprecedented airfares are hitting the tourism industry in Valley. Empty Shikaras in Dal lake and a near-deserted view in world-famous Ski resort Gulmarg is reflecting the ground reality on how airfare to and from Srinagar has become unaffordable for tourists.
To boost the tourism where we see many significant decisions by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department like conducting of winter festival at summer destination Pahalgam, the state seems unaware of the fact that the air ticket prizes are becoming a major cause for the tourists to choose another place for outing.
The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department which is conducting several road shows, symposiums and seminars in different states of India aimed to boost the tourism sector in Kashmir which lost its sheen particularly after 2014 devastating floods following by the 2016 public uprising has yet failed to address the major issue of the unprecedented airfares particularly at a time of long intervals of road closing due to snowing which is considered main attraction of the tourists.
“I had a group of foreign tourists. First day their flight was cancelled due to Snowfall. Next day they were told to pay a fare of Rs. 25,000 each for a flight from Delhi to Srinagar. A ticket from Delhi to Dubai is much cheaper at Rs. 8,000,” said Hadi Ahmad, a Srinagar based travel agent.
Recently, Junaid Azam Mattu, leader of National Conference tweeted to Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha – “Fare from Delhi to Srinagar more expensive than round-trip tickets to Dubai from Delhi. I thought @jayantsinha said it’s cheaper to fly than to take an auto rickshaw? Airlines can’t fleece people because we had two inches of snow in the Valley. Highway robbery as usual.”
“I had planned to visit Kashmir valley but skyrocketing airfare changed my mind, the unprecedented airfares should be a major concern for the people at the helm of affairs,” reads a Facebook post by one Sabahat Kumari. (KNB)