Snowfall in Kashmir boosts tourism, revival in sight

Published on : Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The decline in the number of Covid-19 infections in Jammu and Kashmir and a few spells of snowfall in late December and January have led to tourists arriving in the Valley in large numbers after 16 months.


“From Christmas, the arrivals of tourists has increased considerably. Despite the pandemic, people are confident about travelling. And since the vaccine is coming, we expect the numbers to increase further,” said director of tourism, Kashmir, Nisar Wani.


He said 20-30 tourists would arrive per day in July, 2020, and there have been over 1,000 visitors every day since December 25, 2020.


The inflow of tourists, however, was disrupted after surface and air traffic was suspended from Sunday following heavy snowfall.


“Although we have zero arrival during these three days, we expect the fresh snowfall will give further impetus to tourism. We are hopeful of a good season this year,” Wani said.


Mostly, tourists in winter rush to Gulmarg, located in the PirPanjal mountain range in the western Himalayas, about 50km from Srinagar in north Kashmir. The place is home to one of Asia’s largest and highest cable cars.


Assistant manager, Gondola Project, Fayaz Ahmad said that Gulmarg was packed on Christmas and New Year ’s Eve.


“Snowfall was on time this year, and Kashmir is almost Covid-19-free. We follow proper protocol right from the airport. So domestic tourists prefer to come here than go abroad,” Ahmad said.


All incoming passengers at Srinagar airport have to go through a mandatory Covid-19 test and anybody testing positive is immediately isolated. The daily number of Covid-19 infections in Kashmir Valley has dropped to below 100.


Ahmad said that the hotels in Gulmarg are full and they hope the fresh snowfall will push the number up further.


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