Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tourist rush in Kashmir

An increasing tourist rush in the valley is proving to be costlier for locals who wish to travel by air owing to an all time high air fares which on the other hand is not proving to be beneficial for the travel agents too.

Air travel has jumped twice/ thrice of its original rates with a boost in the tourists influx. Subsequently, some locals who are not able to afford the air travel have to now travel by road as the prices of tickets are too high and the reservations are being made months before.

Mahipal Singh, a tourist told Kashmir Times, “I paid around Rs 40,000 from Chandigarh for a round trip for myself and three more family members. The prices are very high but we still managed to get a discount by the government agency office.”
Meanwhile, the valley based travel and tourism agents say that they have not been able to derive any benefits from air fare hike since the tourists get their tickets reserved from outside J&K which includes a two way trip.

“Prices are going as high as Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 for a one way trip, and the lowest these days are around Rs 5,000,” said Nasir Khan, from Shiraz Travel agency“Its not proving beneficial for us since the tourist generally make a round trip reservation from outside, so more of tourists and hike in air tickets is doing us no good,” he added. However agreeing to the change of prices due to the inflow of tourists he also added that rise in prices also mean that the locals of Kashmir have to suffer since they can not afford such exorbitant prices for air tickets. In such cases they prefer traveling by other means of transport like by road or stopping halfway in Jammu and then further taking a train to Delhi.

“The traffic on the highway has increased over the months. One reason being it is the tourist season in Kashmir and other reason being the rise in prices of air ticket,” the tourism department officials said.

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