Winters and Air Fare
Post by RK News on Monday, November 7, 2022
We have seen in the past that whenever inclement weather and snowfall brings closure of the Srinagar-Jammu National highway, the prices of the air tickets go through the roof in the valley. Over the years, regulation of air fare has been a long pending demand of not only different stakeholders in the tourism industry but also the people of Kashmir who end up paying large sums for air travel especially during winter season. Earlier, travelers and tour operators used to blame air service providers for not regulating the tariffs. The service providers were alleged to resort to arbitrary hikes, especially at the beginning and end of winters. Since a large number of people travel by air during winter time, the rates have been annoying for almost everyone; from tourists on their holiday trips to common people who have to move between states and the union territory. The problem gets further aggravated when some self-centered ticketing agents charge exorbitantly to the gullible customers, so the blame does not rest entirely on the air service providers. Many people are of the opinion that the agents book tickets in advance at very low prices and then sell it to customers at their will. The fluctuation in rates becomes so much that at times it is cheaper to travel to prime destinations outside the country than to any metropolitan city in the country. This summer the tourist influx has been on the higher side thereby raising expectations of hoteliers, travel agencies and other related service providers. If the rates are not regulated, the efforts of the tourism authorities will all be in vain. There is a need for concerted efforts to put an end to this unwanted practice. The law enforcement agencies must provide a helping hand by identifying and booking the culprits who cheat or trick tourists. Credible travel agencies and agents must come forward and help in finding such black sheep who have hit the industry badly. Also, to consider air service provider as usual suspects is not a good thing. The problem may lie elsewhere and needs serious attention from the concerned authorities. The criminal elements must be screened out and barred from doing any business in the valley. Unless the air travel becomes affordable, not much can be expected in terms of revenue generated by the tourism sector. It also affects other affiliated sectors as less tourists mean less business activity in the valley.