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Tourists rush to J-K; hoteliers charge exorbitant rates

The Jammu and Kashmir government is facing a serious lack of infrastructure and absence of rate control on the charges being made by hoteliers in the state from the tourists.

Written by Ishfaq Naseem | Jammu | Published: February 18, 2009 11:08 am

At a time when the Srinagar airport has been opened for international traffic which is likely to increase the tourist rush to the state,Jammu and Kashmir government is facing a serious lack of infrastructure and absence of rate control on the charges being made by hoteliers in the state from the tourists.

Sources said that the new government led by Chief Minister,Omar Abdullah,is even contemplating action against the hoteliers who are charging hefty rates from the tourists which under the tourist trade act will range from fining them to even their arrests.

Sources said that the hotels in both the Jammu and Kashmir provinces are charging more than what the hotels in the other states and even outside the country charge from the tourists. In all the categories of the plans by the hotels the charges are more than that from the other states.

“Either in the European plan under which a tourist stays for a night at the hotel,in continental plan under which the tourist is even given breakfast besides the night stay,the American plan under which breakfast,dinner and lunch are served to people and the modified American plan with breakfast and either lunch or dinner being served to the people,the rates charged from the tourists,are on higher side. For all these plans the rates should be between Rs 4000-6000. However the rates are on higher side” said officials. Even the five-star rated hotels in the other states of the country are charging lower than the lesser grade hotels in Jammu and Kashmir,official sources said.

Sources said that with the state expecting a huge tourist rush from Muslim countries after the international flights the rates in countries like Malaysia and the states of UAE were on lesser side. “For the five star hotels in UAE the rates charged are Rs 8400 under the European plan. However in the state even the three-star rated hotels charge Rs 14,000” sources said. Sources also add that while private hotels were charging a hefty amount from the tourists,there was a lack of infrastructure in the government accommodations of the tourism department.

“While the hefty rates were being charged even in Jammu,in tourist resorts like Gulmarg and Pahalgam where we have single to four bedroom cottages the infrastructure was not up to the mark. The cottages lack proper furnishing. To attract the high-end tourists,there is a need to raise a trained staff who can serve the tourists. Also the hotels in places like Gulmarg lack facilities like conference rooms and luxury amenities like swimming pools and proper health clubs to attract the high-end tourists to the state” sources said.

However Managing Director,Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC),Rafiq Ahmed Qadri,said,“we are also involving the private sector in the development of infrastructure in the state which was important in the wake of the fact that the tourism rush in the state is going to increase after the international flights have started from Kashmir.”

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