Kashmir tourism in dire straits

Kashmir tourism in dire straits

Report submitted by the parliamentary panel about GST having negative effect on J&K tourism is an alarm bell for the people at the helm.
The panel has submitted that the Government of India should reconsider the indirect tax regime on tourism-related activities in Jammu and Kashmir. The panel has also stated that the negative publicity too has hit the tourism industry in the northern state.
The committee has said: “Negative perception overshadows the true narrative of the region as not all parts of the state are in conflict or affected by it.”
Tourism players during the past few years have been repeatedly saying that the number of tourists visiting Kashmir has declined due to many reasons. Negative publicity and propaganda have made many people cancel their trips to the Valley.
The new GST regime has led to the hotels levying 18% GST on the bills. This has reduced the profit margin of the hotels and lodges and the cut throat competition has led to many small lodge owners winding up their businesses in Kashmir.
The negative media campaign against Kashmir has hurt the Valley. People of Kashmir have been demonized and have been labeled as “stone-pelters” and “trouble mongers.” This propaganda has to stop to put tourism industry in Kashmir back on the track.
The parliamentary panel has also recommended that the tourism ministry should organise its own publicity campaign “in order to remove the negative impression of the state which is based on incorrect facts.”
Government of India should consider the recommendations made by the panel and see to it that hoteliers in the Valley are given some concessions till the tourists return to Kashmir. On the other hand negative propaganda against Kashmir needs to be countered at every level.