‘Tourist’s killing could negatively impact tourism in Kashmir’

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Srinagar: A day after a tourist from Tamil Nadu died due to head injury suffered during stone-pelting in Narbal, Tourism department and stakeholders have expressed apprehensions that the incident could negatively impact the arrival of visitors to Kashmir.
A 22-year-old tourist, R Thirumani, from Chennai was critically injured in a stone pelting incident at Narbal yesterday morning. He was shifted to a hospital for treatment but succumbed to injuries.
“This is a sad incident which should not have happened. Unfortunately, we feel that it will have an impact on the tourist arrivals to Kashmir,” Ashfaq Siddiq, president Travel Agents Association Kashmir (TAAK), told PTI.
Siddiq said the association believes that the killing of the Chennai youth might be the proverbial final nail in the coffin of tourism in Kashmir.
There was already an impact. Unfortunately, few incidents in the recent past have had their impact. Naturally, because of this incident, impact will be there especially when certain sections of national media highlight it under a certain agenda. It (the yesterday’s incident), I think, will be the final nail in the coffin, he said.
The TAAK president said the association has apprehensions of cancellation of bookings by the tourists in the days to come.
It is obvious that cancellations will happen and there might be some hardline elements who might even call for an absolute boycott of Kashmir, he said.
Siddiq said the association would meet later in the day to take stock of the situation and its impact on tourism.
Director Tourism Kashmir, Mehmood Shah, while condemning the incident, said the department fears it would negatively impact the arrival of visitors to the valley.
It is an unfortunate incident and we are deeply pained. The chief minister late last night only went to see the (victim’s)family to share their grief, Shah told PTI.
When asked if the incident will have any impact on the number of arrivals to the valley, he said absolutely.
Absolutely, it will have an impact … cancellations may happen, the director tourism said.

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