Srinagar: After over-a-year, tourism activities are all set to pick up this winter the world famous ski resort—Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district with hotel bookings picking up at a great pace first time after the roll back of article 370 on August 5, 2019.
All eyes are now set on winter sports which is coupled with Christmas celebrations on December 25 and the New Year event scheduled for Dec 31 and January 1.
Tourism was badly hit post abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and hotels were deserted in absence of any local or foreign tourist. Talking to media Mukhtar Ahmed Shah said that after the recent but early snowfall in Gulmarg, skiing activities have picked up and so have the hotel bookings. “We are receiving inquiries on a daily basis about hotel packages etc,” Shah said, adding that the reports of 100 per cent hotel bookings in Gulmarg are totally false.
“The only reality is that inquiries are picking up each day,” he said. “We are expecting a good winter tourism season this year. There are bookings from couples, domestic as well as foreign tourists as well, which is a good sign. Winter sports activities especially skiing activities are all set to attract a large number of tourists this year to Gulmarg.”
He admitted that this is for the first time that tourist bookings were registered by the hoteliers at Gulmarg post scraping of special status on August 5, 2019. “One big thing is that in Gulmarg, there is less effect of Covid-19 pandemic and the place is safe for visitors given its topography and landscape,” Shah said.
Showkat Ahmed Khan, Owner of Green Park Park Hotel in Gulmarg, said that they are receiving calls from domestic and international tourists asking about hotel bookings and winter packages available. “Our hotels have been empty since August 5, 2019. We are hoping for a better season this time,khan told
Managing Director Gulmarg Cable Car Project (Gandola), Sahil Ahmed Wani said that they are expecting the arrival of a good number of tourists this season despite Covid-19 pandemic. “Two days are important—December 25 (Christmas) and January 1 (New Year). All arrangements are in place, let’s hope for a good season,” he said.
Official figures state that 43000 tourists visited Kashmir between August and December last year. In 2020, less than 15000 tourists arrived in Valley till August since there was Covid related lockdown.
Only 6345 tourists have visited valley in September and October months.