United News of India
Srinagar, Sep 3: The “HELP DESKS” set up by the tourism department has helped about two dozen tourists from different parts of the country, including Delhi, to get free accommodation and reschedule their flights in Kashmir.
Tourism Department in Kashmir has established “Help Desks” at five different places to provide all assistance, guidance and help to tourists in the valley.
Mobile and internet facilities were also available at these centers for them, Director tourism, Kashmir Dr G N Itoo told UNI.
He said in charge of these help desks have been instructed to provide all assistance to tourists and make their stay comfortable.
Dr Itoo said during the month of August, more than 50,000 tourists from different parts of the country had visited the valley. The footfall of tourists continued to witness increase, he said.
Gulmarg help desk in charge Manzoor Ahmad told UNI over phone that 20 tourists have so far sought assistance. They had accommodation problem besides wanted to reschedule their return flights to their native places. ”We provided them free accommodation and meals in the hotels at Gulmarg”. Ahmad said some tourists wanted to reschedule their air tickets since they could not travel to Srinagar because of restrictions. ”Since our internet was working we could reschedule their air tickets and they were happy”, he added.
Similarly, four tourists from Delhi had checked out from hotel Heaven early Wednesday morning at famed health resort of Pahalgam. However, due to restrictions they too could not travel to Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad, head of help desk Pahalgam said. They were later accommodated in the same hotel free of cost till they travel to Srinagar.
Large number tourists from different parts of the country, particularly Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi and other northern states are in Kashmir. However, situation at tourist places was normal and there is absolutely no threat to guests.
But keeping in view the prevailing situation in the valley following death of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Wednesday night, the tourist department has established help desk for tourists in Srinagar (Tourist Reception Centre), famed health resort of Pahalgam, world famous ski resort of Gulmarg and Sonamarg. These help desk will have internet and mobile facility, they said, adding that tourists will be provided all assistance, guidance and help to make their stay to Kashmir comfortable.
However, tourists alleged that they remained confined in their hotel rooms for the past two days due to restriction. Those who had landed in Kashmir only on Wednesday said they had just five to six days tour out of which two days were wasted. The main problem is non availability of internet coupled with mobile phones not working, they said but added they managed to inform their families about their welfare from hotel landline.
However, those associated with tourism alleged that snapping of internet could prove very costly for them this year too. ”We cannot contact our guests who were scheduled to arrive here this week end”, they said adding this could send a wrong signal to people in the country who have planned to visit Kashmir.
They said in 2019 tourism suffered heavy losses when the Centre abrogated Article 370 and 35 A besides imposing curfew and snapping all communication network.
In 2020, it was due to Covid that the tourists stayed away from Kashmir and this year arrival of guests had started to witness increase when restrictions and internet made a comeback.