PUNE: Travel agents from city have noted a significant fall in the number of tourists inquiring for Jammu and Kashmir tours this summer, following the unrest in the Valley last month.
While the Kashmir Valley usually sees a huge footfall of travellers from Pune every summer, this time, many tour operators have cancelled their tour packages.“The Kashmir tours have certainly been affected. The clients are not very keen on going there this year. The number of inquiries too has fallen quite drastically,” Hemant Pai of Travel Agents Association of Pune (TAAP) told Sakal Times. This has inclined more tourists towards choosing other destinations like Manali, Pai added.
Pramod Shevde from a city-based travel agency said considering the security situation there, they did not wish to take people there on their responsibility. “Further course of plan is yet to be decided. We will gauge the situation and decide when to start the tours,” he said.He said that tourists are changing their summer plans to other destinations in Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Darjeeling, etc.
According to reports in sections of media, many airlines have also waived or decreased flight cancellation charges, since many people are either cancelling or rescheduling their tour to the state.
The government employees who had booked Leave Travel Concession (LTC) air tickets with Air India, also had to make other plans. “We had booked for a Kashmir tour this season. However, after Air India cancelled our flight tickets because of the prevailing conditions, we decided to go to McLeodganj,” a city-based defence employee said.
Sensing the lack of interest in the travellers, many tour operators too have chosen not to risk taking the tourists to the Valley.