Corona Virus Fear: 30% hotel bookings cancelled in Valley

There have been around 30 per cent cancellations in the hotel bookings in Kashmir due to the third wave of COVID-19 and more cancellations are apprehended due to the fear psychosis.

Hotels in the world-famed tourist destination of Gulmarg that were packed for most of the winter are also witnessing cancellations in bookings for the last few days.

The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa, Gulmarg which was fully sold for January is also feeling the heat. It has had 10 per cent cancellations during the last few days.

Vinit Chhabra, General Manager of the hotel told the media that there is a general sense of fear among the travellers due to COVID-19 and it has impacted the bookings. “We were fully sold for the month but are losing some rooms now”, he said.

The travel agents are also losing the business due to COVID-19 and they fear more cancellations in the coming weeks due to the steep rise in the cases in the States from where the bulk of tourists come to Kashmir these days.

One of the leading travel agents of the Valley and Vice-Chairman J&K Tourism Alliance, Shameem Ahmad Shah, told Excelsior that for the last one week there have been 30 per cent cancellations of bookings in hotels and houseboats.

“Major chunk of tourists coming to Kashmir presently is from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi. All these three States are badly hit due to the third wave. We had almost 30 per cent cancellations for last few days and more and more tourists are cancelling their booking which was for February and March”, he said.

“Omicron which is spreading fast has led to fear psychosis among travellers and they are cancelling their travel which is impacting hotel bookings here. We hope once cases decrease, the bookings may go up”, he said.

The last three months saw a surge in tourism in Kashmir after the last 7 years as tourists in large numbers turned up in October, November and December.

Director Tourism, Dr G N Itoo, told the media that 1.27 lakh and 1.43 lakh tourists visited Kashmir in November and December respectively.