Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has cautioned stakeholders in the tourism industry against cheating or duping of tourists and defaming the state`s age old tradition of hospitality.
"Nobody should be allowed to cheat tourists and defame the age old hospitality of people of the state.
"Such culprits will be brought to book," state tourism minister GA Mir said.
Addressing an interactive session with representatives of various tourism trade stakeholders and officials of the tourism department at the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir yesterday, the minister asked for close vigil against those, who for their personal means, defame and affect the growth of tourism in the state.
The statement of Mir comes barely a few days after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed his displeasure over reports of uncalled for pressure tactics employed by `pony-wallas` on tourists for riding ponies at Gulmarg.
"We have reports that there are about 7,000 pony-wallas operating in Gulmarg as against 1,500 registered.
"Their functioning and treatment with tourists is not upto the standard as should have been.
"We could have not allowed the unregistered ones to work, but for their livelihood government is not taking this step," Omar had said addressing a function last week.
During the session, representatives from tourism industry and other transport associations raised several demands pertaining to betterment of their trades and gave suggestion to safeguard the environs of this heritage destination of the Valley, a government spokesman said.
The representatives assured the government of their full cooperation to provide better hospitality facilities at Gulmarg, he said.
Issues like regulation of traffic, sanitation, development
of neighbouring tourist spots, eco-tourism infrastructure, development of parking slots, pony tracks, construction of alternate roads and formulation of a Master plan came up for discussion during the session, the spokesman said.
Mir directed that only registered service holders should provide necessary facilities to tourists and it should be ensured that no tourist is overcharged.
He directed authorities concerned to prepare a perspective plan with futuristic strategy for preservation and development of Gulmarg and its vicinity and instructed for up-keeping of Gulmarg bowel and other spots.
Mir asked service holders of Gulmarg to ensure quality services to tourists with genuine rates for boarding and lodging, besides fare charges of ponies and transport.
The minister asked the CEO, Gulmarg Development Authority to identify land for construction of solid waste management plant and also directed for formulation of a vision document with consultation of local stakeholders for enlisting in the Master plan for approval of the government.