Kashmir grapples with lack of hotels

Kashmir grapples with lack of hotels

Kashmir grapples with lack of hotels

While Kashmir is booming with tourist influx these days, it is grappling with acute shortage of hotel capacity to accommodate the mounting number of visitors.

Official figures reveal that there are only 25,000 rooms available in Srinagar which include hotels, guest houses and houseboats, while the demand at the peak season is more than one lakh rooms per day.

The famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir has just 1,500 rooms for tourists while tourist resort Pahalgam in south Kashmir, which is also the base camp for annual Amarnath pilgrimage has 15,000 rooms.

Similarly, as per official records, there are only 400 hotel rooms in north Kashmir’s Sonamarg resort to cater to the huge influx of tourists. Due to the huge demand, the room charges in quality hotels in the Valley range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 in the peak season.

Kashmir has failed to fully explore its tourism potential as the state government is allegedly creating impediments in the development of infrastructure at emerging tourist destinations. Although private players are eager to invest in the tourism sector, the government reluctance and master plan impediments, restricting construction of new hotels and guest houses proves to be major hurdle in increasing the room capacity.

Mushtaq Chaya, chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers Club, advocates that the government should encourage entrepreneurs and private players to establish new hotels and guest houses with due consideration to the environmental concerns.

“The government should earmark new areas where construction of hotels and guest houses be allowed,” he said.“Tourism fraternity is ready to invest provided that the government facilitates them.

“We have many investors who are willing to invest in the hospitality industry thinking they would create job avenues for locals and also provide better services to guests that will promote Kashmir throughout the world,” Chaya added.