Published on : Tuesday, December 12, 2017
With the snowfall in Kashmir, the Valley’s tourism professionals have breathed a sigh of relief. The snowfall has brought an end to a long dry spell, and it’s a new hope to overcome the slump in recent times.
Secretary Tourism Sarmad Hafeez said that after several years, snowfall in early December is a healthy sign for the tourism industry.
To quote Hafeez, “The snowfall has lifted the mood at Gulmarg and various other health resorts in Kashmir. Once it snows a little more, full-fledged skiing season will also get kick-started.”
Hafeez said that tourist footfalls in Gulmarg are pretty encouraging at the moment and the department is also making efforts to promote Pahalgam as a winter tourist destination.
“Gulmarg already looks like a fairyland and will be lit up around the Christmas time. We are doing these events in collaboration with Gulmarg Hoteliers’ Association and the local Christian community to attract tourists in large numbers. Every week-day there will be some sort of a programme held at Gulmarg hotels and for weekends we will have action-packed events at the Gulmarg Club,” Hafeez said.
He said that snow festival in Gulmarg will start from December 24 while the week-long snow carnival will be held there from January 8 onwards.
Hafeez further said, “We were hoping for white Christmas and hopefully with more snow forecasted we expect more fun-frolic activities at Gulmarg. The Tourism department is equally promoting Pahalgam along with hoteliers there.”
President, J&K Hoteliers’ Club, Mushtaq Chaya said that early snowfall is a “good omen” and it will definitely help in attracting tourists for forthcoming Christmas and New Year events.
Nasir Shah, chairman, J&K Pilgrim and Leisure Tour Operators’ Forum said that for “utilising snowfall in best possible way, maximum positive publicity for Kashmir is needed.”
Farooq Kuthoo, secretary general, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir said that ensuring a hassle-free and affordable air travel to Kashmir is important to encourage more tourist arrivals.