Srinagar: Relating “propaganda reporting” by Indian TV channels to low tourist footfall, the Kashmir based Travel Agents’ body sought intervention of J&K Government to direct these news channels from desisting “negative reporting”.
“Their reportage adversely impacts Tourism Industry of Kashmir,” they said.
“Some selected Indian news channels are hell-bent on crushing state economy by portraying Kashmir in negative way in their news debates from dawn to dusk,” they said.
Taking a jibe at the Union government for supporting what they termed pseudo-nationalist news channels, they alleged that these channels in order to increase their TRP continuously spew venom against Valley and its people.
Chairman Houseboat Owners, Gulam Rasool Siyah while appealing people to boycott these channels said, “they have been enjoying patronage of the government and some political parties whose aim is to crush the state economy.”
Siyah said these acts not only have affected tourism trade in Kashmir but in Jammu and Ladakh as well besides raising fingers over the hospitality of the people of Kashmir they are famous for world over.
“We need suggestions and ideas to tackle this sensitive issue which has taken toll on the economy of the state,” he said.
“We leave no stone unturned to make tourists happy, Kashmir valley is famous for hospitality,” he said.
“2017 is seeing lowest ever tourist footfall,” said Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo.
“This is mainly because of the deliberate negative publicity on the situation in Kashmir,” he alleged.
Kuthoo is Sectary General of Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TASK). And various tourism related trade bodies addressed a presser in Srinagar on Monday.
“Facts are being ignored and fiction is being presented by some so-called TV channels run from Delhi and Mumbai,” he said.
On NIA raids, the traders said, “such acts which are aimed at to make Kashmir valley economically feeble should be condemned in strong words.”
“We condemn these raids conducted by NIA in Kashmir. It was also aired that a few prominent businessmen were also raided, what message did they convey to world,” they said.=
“The Kashmiri populace is ready to welcome the intending Amarnath Yatris as always,” said Ab Hamid Wangnoo.
Wangnoo is president of Domestic Tour Operators Association, Kashmir.
Amarnath Yatra will start from June 29 this year which will come to end in August.
“Local media and state government should help us in creating a media cell to counter this negative publicity of Kashmir,” Wangnoo said.
“There is no need in posting 40000 security forces for coming Yatra season in J&K,” he said, “Kashmir is safe for Yatris and tourists.”
He also referred to the appeals made by the resistance leadership about welcoming the tourists to visit Kashmir.
While appreciating the J&K Government’s offer of 50% discount for tourist arrivals in state, the tourist traders said, “this alone won’t help us at this juncture; we have to be mentally strong and united and should be able fight external elements here.”
Meanwhile, the trade bodies also urged the Amarnath Shrine Board Authorities not to create any new route to Amarnath Cave from Ladakh side as Kashmir has traditionally been the only route to the cave.
Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance (JKTA) alleged that the police for “unknown reasons” are harassing tourists at Sonamarg.
The travel trade heads urged the Chief Minister, who is also the Tourism Minister to instruct Police Authorities in Sonamarg “not to harass tourists by retaining them there till late night hours for no valid reasons”.