People, guides dismayed; request the necessary intervention
SRINAGAR, June 4: As Gulmarg is experiencing an unprecedented rush of tourists these days, getting the same day gondola ticket has become almost impossible for locals as well as several tourists reaching the world famous resort to enjoy the stay .
Gondola tickets are currently sold out for nearly 5 days, leaving embarrassed locals returning from Gulmarg discouraged without a gondola ride.
“At the moment, tickets which are sold only through the online mode, are sold out until June 8, which makes it impossible for locals as well as other tourists to take a ride,” said one of the locals who was in Gulmarg to enjoy the day with his family.
While authorities point to the influx of tourists, it seems the problems faced by locals, tourists as well as registered tour guides, are being downright ignored.
People as well as those associated with the tourism sector bemoan the official indifference to the issue while claiming that it is difficult for locals as well as tourists to obtain gondola tickets on the day when they reach Gulmarg.
In this regard, the tour guides also said that the online booking of the tickets as well as the alleged “mismanagement” of business in Gulmarg harmed the livelihood of the tour guides registered in the tourist resort.
“Tourists hire the guides to do things like getting tickets and other hassle-free logistics, but when we are not even able to help them get the tickets because the same are sold out in advance to the big tour companies why they hire us,” said Javeed Ahmad, one of the licensed tour guides.
Tariq Ahmad Khan, president of the Gulmarg Tour Guides Association, said authorities cannot continue to issue tickets 100% online and must take into account the problems experienced by guides.
“Registered guides must get a booking quota or they can keep the same day online option open for people to get the ticket the day they reach Gulmarg; big companies get most of the tickets and we have nothing left,” he said.
In addition to this, the tickets are also sold at exorbitant prices while the official rate has been set at Rs 750. their clients ; we have evidence of tickets even being sold at Rs 1900,” Khan said.
Tour guides said the authorities themselves paved the way for the black market in tickets and rising prices.
Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez told Excelsior that due to the unprecedented rush in Gulmarg, tickets are being booked well in advance by people. “However, if there is any other issue, the same will be looked into,” he said.
On the issue of black marketing and uniform pricing, he said the online system was created to deal with it and it helps a lot. “There are clear guidelines issued to those affected regarding the issue of black marketing,” he said.