Who is responsible for the decline of tourism sector?

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By CNS on 08/05/2019.

Who is responsible for the decline of tourism sector?

Neyaz Elahi

Srinagar, May 8: Kashmir tourism industry is in a decline mode. The stake holders believe that non-professionals are ruling the roost, who instead of thinking about the up-liftment of this industry are looting it wholeheartedly with impunity.

   Tourism players are crying looking for some miracle. “Even at times when militancy was at its peak, the tourism sector survived, but today the situation is totally different. This sector is on declining mode. There are no professionals that could emerge here for the rescue of this industry,” said a tourism player.

   When asked a known Travel Agent what ails Tourism Sector in Kashmir, he quipped,”Inexperienced and non-professional officials are at the helm of affairs who seek pleasure in foreign tours and love to spent hefty sums on throwing grand parties in the name of tourism promotion.”

   Some members who are associated with different Travel Associations that once hailed the induction of Tasaduq Mufti as tourism minister in 2017 and pinned hopes on him for the revival of tourism have now started believing that his induction was the starting point of fall of tourism sector in Kashmir.

   “Ministers come and go and do Directors but Tasaduq Mufti as a Minister for Toursim was worst. I have been in touch with so many officials and Ministers who served Tourism Sector and sincerely speaking I don’t think Tasaduq Mufti did justice to his job,” said a tourism player to news agency CNS.

    He claimed that Tasaduq Mufti gave a contract to his close friend and silent partner for the promotion of tourism. This friend of Mufti looted the coffers with open heart and to pave way for this loot, Mufti managed to transfer 3 Commissioner Secretaries who had objected his patronizing of this blue eyed contractor cum friend. “Farooq Shah, Sarmad Hafiz and Rigzin Samphel who raised queries over the shoddy dealings of this contractor, were transferred and the irony is that despite knowing all this, the then Chief Minister didn’t act,” he said.

   “Tasaduq Mufti virtually hijacked the department and almost outsourced everything to benefit his favorites,” he said.

   If this Tourism Player is to be believed, Tasaduq Mufti used to throw extravagant parties at one of the top hotels. “It was the owner of this hotel who was calling shots as he was aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the Minister. Tourism sector suffered heavily after Mufti assumed charge and till date it continues to suffer and is in no mood to recover.”

   Another tourism player said that incumbent Director spends much time on foreign tours than in the promotion of local tourism. “Despite his tours to Berlin, Russia, and known European countries, tourists are not arriving in Kashmir,” he said and accused Department of Tourism of miserably failing to persuade Civil Aviation Ministry to control the air fare from different parts of India to Kashmir.

   He said hoteliers are facing worst ever situation with lowest occupancy and one had hoped that massive and aggressive tourism promotional campaign will address the problem but till date nothing on ground has changed.