Kashmir: Heavy snowfall draws tourists, hoteliers upbeathttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/srinagar/heavy-snowfall-draws-tourists-hoteliers-upbeat/

Kashmir: Heavy snowfall draws tourists, hoteliers upbeat

Heavy snowfall in the Valley is attracting hundreds of tourists from various parts of the country and abroad. Skiiers are flocking to the slopes of Gulmarg, considered one of the best skiing destinations in the world.

Vehicles stranded on the Jammu national highway on Thursday. (Source: Express Photo)
Heavy snowfall in the Valley is attracting hundreds of tourists from various parts of the country and abroad. Skiiers are flocking to the slopes of Gulmarg. (Source: Express Photo)

Heavy snowfall in the Valley is attracting hundreds of tourists from various parts of the country and abroad. Skiiers are flocking to the slopes of Gulmarg, considered one of the best skiing destinations in the world. While the snow cover at Gulmarg bowl is 3-4 feet deep, it is more than 6 feet deep in the upper parts of Gulmarg Kondori and Affarwath.

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Commissioner Secretary, Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah said timely snowfall in the Valley and Gulmarg has attracted a large number of tourists. “Skiing has already started in Gulmarg. The snowfall is a good sign for the Valley’s tourism sector,” he added.

Shah further said that this time, snowfall has started at the right time and that it will last till spring. The five-month long unrest in the Valley had severely hit tourism and most hotels had either downed shutters or were unoccupied. However, with the onset of snowfall, most hotel owners have opened their establishments and are expecting good business this winter.

“Before the snowfall, only a few tourists were staying at our hotel. Business picked up after January 15,” Altaf Rather, manager of Hilltop Hotel, told The Indian Express. “Some skiiiers who have come from Russia, Germany and Switzerland are staying at our hotel,” he added.

Rather said that after many years, Gulmarg is witnessing good snowfall. “Before snowfall, only a few hotels were operational, but now all owners are opening up,” he said. The tourism department, meanwhile, is planning to organise a winter carnival. Officials said several activities will be organised between January 22 and February 5 at Gulmarg and Pahalgam. “The activities will include cultural presentation, hot air balloon, snow sculpting, snow zorbing, night skiing demos, ice skating and ice hockey, snow boarding, snow cycling, among others,” an official posted in Gulmarg said.