Srinagar: If you were planning to visit
Kashmir this summer, you might have missed the bus as hotels
across popular tourist destinations in the valley are fully
booked till the end of this season.
According to industry estimates, the tourist arrivals
in the valley can break the all-time record and more than 20
lakh visitors are expected this year.
"As Kashmir remained peaceful last summer, the
response from intending tourists has been tremendous. It is
hard to get bookings in star-category hotels," Mohammad Umar,
a travel agent, said.
The participation of tourism players in various fairs
across the country during the winter has played an important
role in the unusually high bookings for this year, he said.
"The travel trade players from rest of the country
have also helped as they have been selling Kashmir as a
destination like they used to do before 1990 (eruption of
militancy)," he said.
Even high-end hotels like the Taj Vivanta and Lalit
Palace, located on banks of Dal Lake, are expecting a packed
"I had to make advance payment in January for booking
a room in one of these two hotels for a guest arriving in
April," Burhaan Yaqoob, a travel agent, said.
On its part, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(KCCI) has urged the state government to take steps to ensure
that visitors leave with a good impression.