Tourists without phones? Hoteliers mock govt plan
Srinagar: Top hoteliers and tourist bodies across the Valley have ridiculed the directive of state governor, SP Malik, who asked the state administration to take down the advisory against visiting the Valley even as the communication blockade remains in place — with no mobile phone and internet facility available — since the revocation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
Malik directed that state home department on Monday to withdraw the advisory issued in August asking tourists to leave the Valley, and that tourists are welcome from October 10.
Abdul Rahman Malla, a houseboat owner, scoffed at the governor’s decision, lifting the advisory against travel to the state, saying: “How can they (tourists) visit Kashmir when mobile phones and internet facilities are shut?”
Mohammad Yaqoob, another shikara owner, pointed to the deserted Dal Lake and said the tourism industry of Kashmir has suffered a dent and that it may take up to 3-4 years to heal.
“We are caged without mobile phones, as our trade is now largely dependent on the internet facility for inquiries and bookings from people who intend to visit the Valley,” Mustaq Ahmad Dar, a travel agent, says.
Asenior police officer also admitted that it is ridiculous to invite tourists to the Valley without opening up facilities like mobile telephony and internet. Mohammad Ashraf, a travel agent, said the current tourist season in Kashmir is over for now and that tourists, domestic and foreign, who love to visit the Valley in the winters would have to begin bookings but, with communication blockade still in place, even this was not possible.
Vacant houseboats moored in middle of Dal lake on Tuesday