Seeking to “woo back tourists”, especially from West Bengal, who routinely plan trips during the extended Durga Puja holidays, a team of the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department visited Kolkata on Saturday and made a presentation to tour operators.
The team was headed by Deputy Director of Tourism Registration in J&K Waseem Raja.
Addressing the 35th conference of the Indian Association of Tour Operators in Kolkata, Mr. Raja said he projected “offbeat destinations” to get the tourists back.
“We tried to promote the new virgin destinations like Bangus, Sinthan Top, Gurez or products like gondola in Jammu and light and sound show around Dal Lake in Saturday’s conference and focused on zero crime against foreign tourists and women,” Mr. Raja told The Hindu on Sunday.
An adviser to J&K Tourism Department said there were proposals to launch “express trains, exclusively for the tourists visiting J&K from across the country” and a bouquet of schemes to get the key livelihood source, back on track.
The new assurances spark no enthusiasm in Ali, a boatman on the famous tourist spot, Dal Lake.
“This lake was full in July and none of the shikaras (house boats) were empty. We had an outstanding season this year, but it’s all gone for now,” said Mr. Ali, who has been a boatman for 40 years. He and his family were making ₹1,000-1,500 for each trip on the lake depending on the duration of the trip but everything collapsed once the advisory was issued and tourists were evacuated. “Now we charge ₹200-₹300 per trip but are unable to find a single tourist,” he said.
Source: The Hindu