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Kashmir tourism players see airfare hike impacting tourism season

Mubashir Aalam Wani

Srinagar, Mar 27: With airline companies hiking airfare, tourism players fear it could impact the ongoing spring and summer seasons during which Kashmir receives a major chunk of tourists.

For the last few weeks,  airline companies have made a steep hike in airfare on Srinagar and Jammu sectors. It has worried the tourism players, who claimed that their packages are getting costlier, following which the majority of the tourists cancel their plans.

“Airfare hikes have always been an issue with Kashmir tourism. It becomes one of the major deterrents to our promotion activities. We have been always requesting the government to curb the menace as we lose a huge chunk of tourists due to the unaffordable air tickets,” said President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir Rauf Tramboo.

He said the Kashmir packages have become costlier due to the airfare hike by the airline companies. “Such is the situation that a trip to Dubai or Thailand becomes cheaper than a Kashmir trip. Tourists prefer international trips over Kashmir due to the airfare hike,” Tramboo said.

He said the number of queries has dipped for the last few weeks due to the airfare hike. “If we were receiving 1000 queries from tourists every day we now get some 300-400 queries a day. We appeal to the government to deploy additional flights and regulate airfare,” Tramboo said.

Pertinently, with the arrival of the Spring season, Kashmir is witnessing a rush of tourists particularly from Maharashtra and Gujarat following which the hotels and houseboats are booked till the month of April.

For the last two weeks, the airfare from various destinations to Kashmir has been increasing and has now hiked by more than 60 per cent.

A cursory look at the airfare chart by portals including MakeMy Trip and EaseMyTrip shows that the tariff from the nearest destination New Delhi to Kashmir for the next two weeks has gone up to Rs 13,000.

Barely one or two weeks before, the airfare from the same destination to the valley was just Rs 5000-5500 per passenger.

The return ticket from Kashmir to Delhi has also witnessed a hike of nearly 30 per cent and sells at Rs 83,00 per person.

A one way air ticket from Maharashtra, where from the valley receives bulk torists during ongoing season, sells between Rs 15000 to 18000 per person. The return ticket from Srinagar to Mumbai too has hiked between 18000 to 25000 per person.

From Gujarat and Kolkatta, which too contribute to the growing tourists number in Kashmir, the airfare too has skyrocketed.

From both these destinations, the airfare has gone up by more than 50 percent in the last two weeks.


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