SRI NAGAR: As tourist inflow to the Valley rises because of the ongoing heat wave in most parts of the country, a leading Mumbai-based tour and travel agency has apologized to Kashmiri tourism stakeholders for calling for a boycott of the destination. The “boycott call” had hurt Kashmir tourism as tourists stayed away from the Valley.
Gem Tour and Travel has now written to the tourism stakeholders in the Valley apologising for the boycott. “After the Pulwama attack, to mourn and respect our own deceased soldiers, I decided not to operate Kashmir tours for 100 days.
However, few negative people based in Mumbai misrepresented my decision in their own personal interest,” reads the letter written by Jyotin Doshi, chairman Gem Tours & Travels.
Doshi said Gem Tours, which has been engaged in promoting Kashmir tourism since 1983, has been providing an annual business of Rs 10-15 crore to tourism stakeholders in the Valley. “Tour operator sends at least 600-1,000 tourists to Kashmir every year,” he said.
Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Kashmir chapter president Zahoor Ahmad Qari termed Gem travel’s apology a “slap on its face”.
“People want to come to Kashmir to enjoy its natural beauty and escape the heat. The demand for Kashmir among tourists has forced Gem Travels to tender an apology,” he said. After Gem’s boycott call, local stakeholders in the Valley decided not to do any business with the tour operator. Qari said now that Gem travel has tendered an apology, local tourist stakeholders should resume business with the company.
Kashmir Hotel And Restaurant Owners Federation president Abdul Wahid Malik said Gem tour and travel agency’s apology is a positive sign. “The Gem’s chairman has been pleading with tourism stakeholders to forgive him and he intends to promote Kashmir now. We should forgive him and start working with the agency again,” he said.