Huge tourist arrivals- Don’t let prices escalate in view of demand: Secretary Tourism to stakeholders
SRINAGAR: Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Sarmad Hafeez reviewed the tourism scenario of Kashmir in a joint meeting of stakeholders and officers of the Department here Thursday.
Chairing the meeting, the Tourism Secretary expressed satisfaction over the brisk tourist activity being witnessed in the Union Territory for which he complimented the stakeholders and the Department for having worked in a synergic mode during the past year or so. He hoped with the same strategy, the tourist numbers this year would cross a record limit.
Having a word of caution for the stakeholders, particularly hoteliers, the Tourism Secretary asked them not to let any particular unit holder take undue advantage of this demand and wear price tags beyond imagination. This, he said, would not only bring bad name to that particular unit but also damage the entire local tourism industry in the long run.
Sarmad Hafeez said the collective efforts and hard work of the Department and the stakeholders during the last two years have borne fruits and the present footfall is the result of those efforts. He however cautioned the stakeholders that nothing should be allowed to be done by any unit holder which brings a bad name to the local tourism industry in terms of escalated pricing, cheating or touting.
He said though there are ample regulatory mechanisms available with the Department to check these malpractices, a self regulatory mechanism by the stakeholders would go a long way in establishing the credibility of the local industry. He said the hospitality and caring nature of the people here has been one of the USPs of Kashmir tourism which should at all costs be preserved and upheld.
Sarmad Hafeez informed the stakeholders that to enhance the tourists’ stay and interest, the Department has taken many path breaking steps like identifying 75 offbeat destinations, increasing the spectrum of activities for tourists and various destinations and giving a push to adventure tourism in the UT. He said the Department’s decision to open destinations like Sonamarg and Doodpathri during winters has yielded encouraging results. He exuded optimism that coming months would bring tourists in good numbers and asked the stakeholders to prove themselves to the highest traditions of local hospitality.
Sarmad Hafeez said that it is the endeavour of the Government to promote the tourism potential of the UT on a bigger scale in collaboration with the stakeholders.
The tourism stakeholders brought many issues into the notice of the Tourism Secretary and sought their redressal.
Senior officers of the Department and representatives of various tourism trade bodies were present in the meeting.