Homes, houseboats, hotels, Kashmiris open doors of all for stranded tourists
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Homes, houseboats, hotels, Kashmiris open doors of all for stranded tourists

‘Want tourists to enjoy snowfall, carry only good memories from here’

Post by on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

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‘Want tourists to enjoy snowfall, carry only good memories from here’

Sameer Bhat

Srinagar, Jan 05:Living up to their age-old tradition of being very hospitable towards their guests, the people in Kashmir have yet again depicted the gesture by opening their doors to accommodate the guests stranded here due to closure of the Srinagar - Jammu highway and cancellation of flights at Srinagar airport after the Valley received heavy snowfall from last two days.

From offering accommodation in homes to houseboats to hotels, Valley people are going all out to ensure that the tourists stuck here carry only good memories with them.

Valley’s travel and hospitality sector has taken lead in this by coming forward to assist, accommodate and provide all sorts of help to the tourists stranded in Srinagar or elsewhere. 

Scores of tourists, who had arrived in the valley for New Year, are stranded in Srinagar due to heavy snowfall.

The J&K Tourism department along with the travel and hospitality sector issued various helpline numbers and used social media to extend their offer of assisting the stranded travellers.

In one of the social media posts, United Tourism Forum has requested the stranded tourists to contact their helpline numbers so that they could assist them in every possible way.

“The travellers are our guests and we are ready to assist and help them to make them feel at home. We have already talked to hoteliers who have always been supportive of this initiative,” said spokesman of the forum, Athar Yameen.

The forum asked tourist to contact  Ather Yameen  on 9797322000, Manzoor Pakhtoon on 9419004104, Tanveer Dar on 9419008085, 

Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK), Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance, A. Pilgrim and Leisure Tour Operators Forum, Tourist Trade Interest Guild, Association of Kashmir Tour Operators, JK Chapters of national bodies including Travel Agents Association of India, Indian Association of Tour Operators, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India and Domestic Tour Operators of Kashmir have also come forward for the timely help of the tourists. 

 Yameen said the local travel and hospitality sector has always come forward to provide all possible support to tourists who were caught in whatever, the situation.

“We are also concerned about the cancelation of the flights as many tourists who wanted to visit the Valley had to cancel their trips. We are hopeful of the weather improvement so that tourists can leave home with beautiful memories. Many tourists are also stuck at Delhi as they were on their way to Kashmir,” he said.

The Department of tourism also issued helpline numbers and offered free accommodation to tourists.

Director Tourism Kashmir Nisar Ahmad Wani said the department will provide every kind of assistance required by the stranded travellers.

“We have issued several helpline numbers so that stranded tourists are provided all sort help. We want them to feel at home and comfortable here. We have kept our hotels and guest houses ready to accommodate them,” he said.

The Director Tourism said the local travel and hospitality sector has come forward to extend their support and issued separate helpline numbers. 

One of the officials, whose numbers were used as a helpline, said many tourists called his number and sought accommodation.

“Till afternoon, four families were accommodated in the guest house. We are here to help all those who are in need. We have clear directions from the department to provide all assistance possible to the tourists,” he said.

The Houseboat Owners Association was not far in extending their help. Through social media they are also requesting travellers to stay back in their houseboats till weather improves and flights resume.

Another travel body, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) also offered their assistance and announced a helpline number on its social media handle.

“As a responsible travel association, we request the tourists to get in touch with President TAAK Farooq Kuthoo on 9419008804 and Secretary General TAAK Showkat Khankashi on 9622558319.”

The Facebook post further read, “As tour operators we may not be able to accommodate the stranded guests in hotels, but we can accommodate them in our homes. Some of our generous hotel partners have also pledged to support TAAK in getting the stranded tourists accommodated.”

J&K Hoteliers Club Secretary General Tariq Rashid Ghani said they have also issued helpline numbers for the purpose and have reached out to the stranded passengers especially tourists.

“Tourists have been enjoying their holidays. We don’t want them to leave with bad memories. We will accommodate them and provide them assistance and even accommodation. They need not to worry, but enjoy the snowfall here,” he said.

Notably, previous year also, due to road and flight cancellations for various days, the hospitality sector offered free accommodation and food to the stranded travellers.

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