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After article 370 rollback, Covid casts shadow on Kashmir’s hotel industry

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Ground Report | Srinagar

Kashmir’s hotels and restaurant owner’s association (KHARA) Tuesday said it has suffered huge losses and it can’t be estimated by numbers stating that post August 5 last year their units remained shut and now Covid-19 pandemic has hit their peak business season.

The association of hotels and restaurants in Kashmir believes that the losses suffered during this pandemic are irreparable and the peak season that witnesses a huge rush of tourists from March to mid-July is almost gone.

It also said that since last year post August 5 after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A, the unprecedented situation had hit their business with hotels and restaurants across the valley shut for more than four months.

Mushtaq Ahmed Burza, president KHARA said the losses suffered by valley hotels and restaurants can’t be measured in numbers, it’s in crores and since August last year they have only witnessed huge losses in business due to halt in tourism activities according to News agency KNO.

He said ever since the virus has hit the globe including Kashmir it has widely hit the tourism sector and it will definitely take long to recover from it. “Now even if it ends still the tourism sector will have to bear the brunt since social distancing and other protocols will take much time.”

He said that the approximate losses are thousands of crores and the losses started last year post August 05 after the unprecedented situation.

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“However, officials from tourism industry and other sectors managed to motivate people from outside to visit Jammu and Kashmir this season but before the season could commence this pandemic arrived and hit our business,” he said.

He said the hoteliers have hardly managed to pay the wages of workers for the month of march but when the owner is himself out of money what will he give to them who are also affected due this lockdown and many of them are jobless now.

Referring to the most attractive tourist destinations in Kashmir valley, Pahalgam and Gulmarg he said the hotels and restaurants functioning there are in total loss and have no work for a long time now.

“If it was in hundreds and thousands the estimated loss would have been easy to say but when there is total loss in everything what is there left to say about these tourist spots,” he said.

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He also said the peak season for the Kashmir valley commences from March and lasts till mid-July with huge attendance of tourists but this year Covid-19 hit their businesses hard and last year the losses they suffered were due to abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A on August 05.