ISLAMABAD - The hotel industry has witnessed a rapid decline across Pakistan, particularly in the twin cities after the devastating Marriott blast on September 20th . Be they road side stalls or five star hotels, small rental rooms or elite guest houses, all the segments of the hotel industry are bearing the brunt of the deadly blast. Owners of different hotels in the twin cities told TheNation that it would take a lot of time for the hotel industry to get the things back to normal track. "People are scared and are reluctant to stay at hotels," said the manager of a hotel at Sitara Market. "It would take quite a while for the things to get settled", he added. An official of a prominent hotel in Rawalpindi does not see any ray of hope under the prevailing security situation. People are withdrawing their money from banks and are leaving Pakistan while foreign organisations operating in Pakistan are urging their staff to leave Pakistan immediately. In such circumstances who would prefer to visit Pakistan? The hotel industry can not flourish in the existing conditions, he remarked. The general manager of a leading hotel in Islamabad was of the view that major part of profits to the leading hotels comes from foreign tourists, diplomats, and executives of multinational companies. "The top brass of several multinational companies have either left Pakistan or would leave soon. The families of the diplomats of various embassies are in process of leaving Pakistan including some dignitaries. Currently, tourism is dead in Pakistan, this is a big blow to our business," he lamented adding that certain UN officials who are the regular customers of five star hotels have been directed to leave Pakistan immediately. The representatives of hotel industry also lamented that whenever the security situation is about to settle down, yet another terrorist activity takes place thus inflicting a setback to their business. A hotel owner said that customers had gradually started visiting hotels when the recent blast in Quetta had again dissuaded them to do so. "People are so terrified here in Islamabad after repeated blasts that wherever a terrorist act might take place, it has a direct impact in the Capital," he observed. However, the business situation in the guesthouses is much better as compared to hotels, though they too, have witnessed a debacle. A guesthouse owner in F-7 said that unlike the hotels, guesthouses operate in residential areas without making extensive publicity. "Guest houses are comparatively safer since they operate on mellow profile. That's why foreigners as well as local customers prefer to stay in guest houses these days," he said. But the business activity is not as bullish as it used to be in the past, he confirmed. Meanwhile, owners of smaller hotels are looking to switch over to other businesses from hotel management, as they cannot afford to stand at par with the current decline. Most of the owners are now focusing on establishing restaurants since food industry offers more opportunities to earn as compared to hotels under the present circumstances. "Several hotel owners have converted their residential hotels in to food restaurants to avoid further loss. We too, are arranging restaurant facilities in our guest house," said Ishaq Abassi, a hotel owner near Melody Market who had arranged barbecue facility outside his hotel to attract customers. It is pertinent to mention that leading hotels of the twin cities have witnessed a shortfall of customers from 40 percent to 60 percent after September 20. "The only solution of the current problem is the improvement of law and order situation. We have made foolproof security arrangements at our end as much as one could do. Now it's the duty of government to curb the growing terrorism to boom tourism and hotel industry," said an official of a five star hotel requesting not to be identified.