SRINAGAR: The incumbent Showkat Ahmad Chowdhary Sunday was unanimously elected as president of Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHARA) for second term.
The oath taking ceremony took place in front of chief guest, District Development Commissioner, Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Shah.
The election for the new body of the Valley’s oldest tourism association- KHARA- was held on April 15 during which 20 members for Managing Committee under Article 20 (i) of constitution of KHARA were elected.
Chairman Hattrick Group Showkat Chowdhary was given second term as KHARA President in the elections.
KHARA organized oath-taking ceremony at Hattrick Public School in which Showkat Chowdhary took oath as president KHARA, which was administered by DDC Srinagar.
Dr Abdul Majid took oath as Senior Vice President, Abdul Majeed as Junior Vice President, Adil Khan as Secretary General, Aysha Saleem as Joint Secretary General, Ghulam Jeelani as Treasurer and Assad Ullah Khan as Publication Secretary.
Speaking on the occasion DDC, Srinagar Farooq Ahmad Shah impressed upon the tourism players and hoteliers to work for the preservation of the environment and water bodies to let tourism flourish in the state.
“There was no comparison to the beauty of Kashmir and people from around the world want to visit here to see its natural landscape. However, we have spoilt our environment and have destroyed natural beauty ourselves,” said Shah while referring to recent closure of hotels in Srinagar and other tourist places, which are without Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs).
Farooq Shah, who has previously also served as director Tourism Department, Kashmir, said service providers should provide better services to encourage tourists to visit Kashmir.
“Kashmir is more beautiful than Switzerland and other beautiful places on earth where tourists visit in large numbers. However, tourists have avoided visiting Kashmir as we are not sending them back with happy memories,” said Shah. “It is unfortunate that we have neglected our own land,” he said.
President KHARA Showkat Chowdhary while highlighting the problems of tourism sector said tourism fraternity should unite for the betterment of the overall economy of the state.
He said KHARA has worked with other hotel association like Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation for the promotion of tourism sector and general trade.
“We have even worked with Kashmir Economic Alliance. Our main motive is to see economy of the J&K state improves,” said Chowdhary.
Chowdhary urged High Court to look into issue of STP in right perspective so that hoteliers are allowed to operate smoothly.
Earlier in his welcome address Senior VP KHARA Dr Abdul Majid said Kashmir was being deliberately targeted in the tourism sector.
“We fail to understand why only Kashmir is targeted when more tourists are visiting Jammu. The ban has been imposed here in Kashmir only on hotels having more than 19 rooms. We have to operate only 19 rooms and keep other rooms closed. It has severely affected our tourism sector,” said Wani.