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Posted at: Aug 14, 2019, 6:52 AM; last updated: Aug 14, 2019, 6:52 AM (IST)

Art 370 revocation sounds death knell for tourism sector

Jammu, Katra hotels record 0% occupancy | Airfares drop to all-time low | Pilgrim count goes down
Art 370 revocation sounds death knell for tourism sector
Most of the tourism-related bookings have been cancelled. File photo

Amit Khajuria
Tribune News Service
Jammu, August 13

The prevailing situation across Jammu and Kashmir post revocation of Article 370 has adversely affected the local economy as most of the religious tourism-related bookings for August have been cancelled, while the airfare on the Jammu-Srinagar section has dropped to an all-time low.

The occupancy in all major hotels in Jammu city and Katra, the base camp of the holy Vaishno Devi cave shrine in the Trikuta hills, has drastically come down. Majority of the hotels are registering zero to 5 per cent occupancy.

“It’s been almost a fortnight since our business has been affected. The occupancy in all hotels is zero per cent and all hoteliers are suffering huge losses as they will now have to pay salaries to staff, electricity bills and spend on other expenses even if they don’t do any business,” said Inderjeet Khajuria, president, Jammu Hotels and Lodges Association.

The Amarnath Yatra, which was scheduled to conclude on August 15, was stopped midway in view of the precautionary measures ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 and the government advisory to tourists and pilgrims to leave Kashmir sounded the death knell for the tourism sector in J&K.

It led to the cancellation of two major pilgrimages of Jammu region — Machail yatra in Kishtwar and the Budha Amarnath yatra in Poonch district — besides showing a significant affect on the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage.

The number of pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine has come down considerably in August. An official of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said though there was an impact of the prevailing J&K situation on the yatra, a good number of pilgrims were visiting the cave shrine.

“On an average, 12,000 to 15,000 pilgrims are arriving in Katra daily to reach Bhawan,” he said and maintained that during the weekend, the figure was between 18,000 to 20,000, which was normal during the monsoon period every year.

“Since the disruption of normalcy after the abrogation of Article 370, the occupancy in our hotels has come down drastically, but things are improving slowly and steadily,” said Rakesh Wazir, president, Katra Hotel and Restaurant Association.

Similarly, train bookings have also been cancelled and all major trains that used to be overcrowded by this time of the year are running with a lot of vacant seats.

Sources in the Railways said seats were easily available in trains for all destinations from Jammu and Katra. “People are getting confirmed seats without paying extra for tatkal reservations,” they said.

Meanwhile, the airfare from Jammu and Srinagar has come down to all-time low. The air ticket, which usually costs about Rs 5,000 from Jammu-Delhi and about Rs 3,500-4,000 for Srinagar is now around Rs 3,300 for Delhi and below Rs 2,000 for Srinagar.

The airport and railway stations in Jammu too have been wearing a deserted look these days, as the flow of passengers has dropped drastically.

Drastic drop in flow of passenger 

  • The airport and railway stations in Jammu have been wearing a deserted look these days, as the flow of passengers has dropped drastically
  • The occupancy in all major hotels in Jammu city and Katra, the base camp of the holy Vaishno Devi cave shrine in the Trikuta hills, has drastically come down
  • Majority of the hotels are registering zero to 5 per cent occupancy
  • The number of pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine has come down considerably in August

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