News from GreaterKashmir – by ARIF SHAFI WANI Srinagar, Jan 7: In a bid to ensure hassle-free stay of tourists at the world famous hill station and ski resort Gulmarg, authorities on Monday issued an advisory to the hotels asking them to provide requisite services and desist from overcharging, even as cautioning category downgrading in case of complaint.
“Kashmiris are known for their honesty and hospitality. We want the tradition to be maintained. That is why we issued an advisory to all the hotels at Gulmarg to charge prescribed rates and provide all the facilities to the tourists,” Sarmad Hafeez, Joint Director Tourism told Greater Kashmir.
Sarmad however maintained that the advisory should not be looked as “warning” but a step towards promotion of tourism.
“The hotels owners of Gulmarg have to understand that it is after our hectic efforts that tourists visit the ski resort. It is the responsibility of the hotel owners to charge and provide services according to their category. If they attract the tourists with facilities like central heating, they should provide it,” Sarmad who is also incharge of the Advisory Committee for Gulmarg, said.
However he maintained that if any complaint was received against a hotel, its category would be downgraded. “For that, the particular hotel owners will be themselves responsible. As tourists are moving to new tourist destinations, we have to rise to the occasion and sustain our tourism industry which forms backbone of state’s economy. We have to deal fairly with them so that they not only visit the Valley again but recommends other too,” Sarmad said.
Sarmad said a large number of tourists are expected at Gulmarg in coming days. “We are flooded with inquiries from potential tourists and hundreds are on way to the Valley. The fresh snowfall and ski-championships will definitely attract tourists,” he said. Â
“It is a good step and we extend our cooperation to the authorities. We have always been charging the prescribed rates and even on our provide discounts to tourists to earn their goodwill and promote tourism” said Altaf Ahmad proprietor of Hotel Poshwan at Gulmarg.
Meanwhile as Gulmarg wears a festive look after snowfall these days, some skiers said they face inconvenience due to late start of the Gondola. “The Gondola should start at 8.30 am so that we can make maximum trips up to the mountain for downhill skiing,” said Stuart a skier from Australia.
When contacted Managing Director Cable Car Corporation assured to look into the matter. “Hostile weather conditions don’t permit us to start Gondola early morning. However, we have decided to start as early as possible in the wake of arrival of large number of skiers. We are geared up to meet the rush,” the MD said.
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