K'taka boat owners urge people to visit Kashmir

Karnataka Boat Owners' Association urge people to visit Kashmir

A boatwoman rows her boat across Dal Lake during light rain, in Srinagar, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (PTI Photo)

After the abrogation of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir's tourism industry suffered a loss of Rs 1,000 crore, said Hamid Wangnoo, Chairman, Karnataka Houseboat Owners' Association along the sidelines of a prese conference. He was addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on Monday to encourage tourists from Karnataka to visit Kashmir.

The association is offering special seasonal discount for houseboats in a hope to boost tourism in the rife-torn state. The association held a promotional road show on Monday evening that was supposed to be attended by the top brass of the Karnataka tourism department who gave it a miss though.

"We held similar road shows in Orissa and the response was tremendous, " Wangnoo told DH. "Kashmir valley alone suffered Rs. 20,000 crore loss. Houseboat owners alone suffered Rs. 200 crore loss. Tourists were turned away including Amarnath Yatris. Business establishments were shut. Migrants from UP and Bihar were shooed away by the administration and police. We can't even find barbers there," he added.

He assured that 2G post paid services were back including broadband connection but concurred that internet was spotty and it was difficult to make bookings etc. with no connections. 

The association offers package tours to historical Mughal Gardens, hill stations like Yusmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, springs, rafting, eco friendly places, pilgrimage places like Vaishnodevi, Amarnath, Kherbhawani, Golf, Paragliding, local sightseeing, trekking and water skiing. 

"Our four major waterbodies -- Dal Lake, Nigeen Lake, Chinar Bagh, and River Jhelum have five categories of houseboats. Lesser known destinations include Kashthivard, Baderwah, Doodhpathri, Gurez and Bangus Valley," he added.

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