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PHOTOS: Himalayan airfares can't deter the Kashmir tourist

Last updated on: June 13, 2013 12:13 IST

PHOTOS: Himalayan airfares can't deter the Kashmir tourist

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

The steep hike in airfares is making Kashmir out of bounds for most travellers, leading many business-owners to fear that the tourists may be forced to look for another holiday destination, says Mukhtar Shah.

Kashmir tourism players apprehend a slump in tourist arrivals following steep hike in airline fares to flights to Srinagar. The airlines across the board have announced a phenomenal increase on the Srinagar-bound flights recently.

All photographs: Umar Ganie

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Image: Tourists at Sonmarg, Genderbel district
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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The move is seen here as an attempt 'to cut into tourist inflow to Kashmir' as it has come at a time when the tourist season was peaking as much as causing shortage of the accommodation in Srinagar and other tourist destinations.

The move has caused concern among the tourist traders who apprehend a steep fall in the arrivals by the airfare hike.

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Image: Tourists at the Dal Lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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PHOTOS: Himalayan airfares can't deter the Kashmir tourist

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Almost all 18 flights that land in Srinagar every day are bringing plane loads of tourists which have been a constant feature since 2011.

Not only have tourist traders voiced deep concern, but some politicians have also lent their voice to the issue demanding immediate withdrawal of the fare hike.

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Image: The Mughal Gardens in Kashmir
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: PHOTOS

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PHOTOS: Himalayan airfares can't deter the Kashmir tourist

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The government also feels concerned about it and is mulling to take up the issue with civil aviation ministry.

"We will soon take up the issue with the ministry. The fare hike is a disincentive for the low and middle income tourists who may be forced to look for another tourist destination," said Talat Parvaiz, director tourism Kashmir.

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Image: Tourists pose for pictures at Nishant Gardens
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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The houseboat owners association has expressed serious concern over the fare hike saying 'the surge in travel tariff has affected tourism in Kashmir'.

"The drastic hike in the airfare has discouraged the intending tourists from visiting the valley. Even at this peak tourist season a large number of houseboats are without business," said Abdul Hamid Wangnoo general secretary house boat owners association.

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Image: Tourists throng Pahalgam for white water rafting
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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PHOTOS: Himalayan airfares can't deter the Kashmir tourist

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Kashmir has been having a booming tourist season for the past three years in a row helping the local economy and large number of people associated directly or indirectly with the trade.

Higher tourist arrivals also give a big fillip to the handicraft sector. With the soaring temperatures in the plains, tourists have been making a beeline to Kashmir to escape the sweltering heat.

 Kashmir tourist resorts have been known for ages not only for the scenic beauty, but for the salubrious climate and have been attracting tourists from all over the world.


Image: Tourists at the Dal Lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: PHOTOS , Kashmir

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