30% of hotel bookings canceled in Kashmir after surge in Covid cases

SRINAGAR: After the sudden spike in Covid cases in January, there have been around 30% cancellations in hotel bookings in Kashmir and more cancellations are apprehended due to fear psychosis, reported Excelsior of the day.

Hotels in the world famous tourist destination of Gulmarg, which were packed for most of the winter, are also experiencing booking cancellations in recent days.

The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa, Gulmarg, which sold out in January, is also feeling the heat. It has 10% cancellations in the last few days.

Quoting Vinit Chhabra, Managing Director of Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa, Daily Excelsior reported that there is a general sense of fear among travelers due to COVID-19 and this has impacted bookings. “We’ve been completely sold out for the month, but we’re losing a few rooms now,” he said.

Travel agents are also losing business due to COVID-19 and they fear more cancellations in the coming weeks due to the sharp increase in cases in the United States from where the bulk of tourists come to Kashmir these these days.

Quoting one of the Valley’s leading travel agents and Vice President of J&K Tourism Alliance, Shameem Ahmad Shah, Excelsior of the day reported that for the past week there have been 30% cancellations of reservations in hotels and houseboats.

“The bulk of tourists coming to Kashmir currently come from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi. These three states are being hit hard due to the third wave. We have had almost 30% cancellations in recent days and more and more tourists are canceling their reservations for February and March,” he said.

“Omicron, which is spreading rapidly, has caused fear psychosis among travelers and they are canceling their trip, which is impacting hotel reservations here. We hope that once the cases go down, reservations may increase,” he added.

The last three months have seen an increase in tourism in Kashmir after the last 7 years, with tourists having come in large numbers in October, November and December.

At least 1.27 lakh and 1.43 lakh tourists visited Kashmir in November and December respectively, Excelsior of the day quoted tourism director GN Itoo as saying.

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