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    Jammu KashmirSnowfall brings tourism right on track in Kashmir

    Snowfall brings tourism right on track in Kashmir


    Snowfall brings right on track in

    NL Correspondent

    Srinagar: As Kashmir received second snowfall during the month of January, tourists from different parts of the are gradually drifting towards the valley to get enthralled with various scenic locations.

    The unrest in Kashmir has badly hit the tourism sector in Kashmir. But the snowfall that Kashmir witnessed since last week has started reviving the valley's tourism sector which witnessed halt from last half year due to the unrest.

    Director Tourism Department, Mahmood A Shah, said Kashmir currently was receiving 500-700 tourists on daily basis.

    “From last few years we would usually receive snowfall in the month of February, but this year the early snowfall has proved a good omen for Kashmir's tourism sector. People across the world have started booking their trip to Kashmir now. And the arrivals too have improved which include both domestic and foreign tourists,” he said.

    Buoyed with the response of tourists, the state's tourism department is organizing a 15 day long snow carnival at skiing resort Gulmarg from January, 22 to improve foreign arrivals.

    “We have various programmes ahead, most important the snow carnival in Gulmarg is commencing from January, 22. Later such promotional programs will be also held in Pahalgam and other destinations,” Shah said.

    “We will have ice hockey, snowboarding, snow sledging, snowball fight competition and painting competitions during the carnival.”

    After season's first snowfall in Gulmarg last month, more than 250 skiers have visited to high altitude skiing resort to enjoy the adventurous sport.

    “In our institute alone, 250 skiers from different parts of country sought admission for skiing.  There are already many who individually come and enjoy this sport,” said Touseef Ahmad, training officer at Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg.

    The Travel Agents, said that there has been a substantial increase in the number of enquiries for bookings to Kashmir for upcoming months.

    “The situation from tourism point of view is currently good. It is picking up and the snowfall which Kashmir recently received is drifting tourists from different parts to valley.  Good booking is currently witnessed in Gulmarg while in Srinagar they hotels receive less,” Manzoor Sidiq, President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) said.

    He hoped that the tourism seasons ahead will also witness good footfall of tourists. “We hope that more tourists will visit to Kashmir in Feb as well when snow games will be played in Gulmarg.”

    Meanwhile, hoteliers said that the hike in the airfare was restricting many from visiting here. “I won't term the arrivals as encouraging. The airfare has been hiked by the airline companies by more than 300 percent. People plan to visit here which they give up after seeing a huge airfare to Kashmir,” former Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) president and prominent hotelier, GM Dugg said.

    He said that a huge chunk of tourists are currently getting diverted to other Himalayan areas due to the hike in the airfare by airline companies.  “You can see the level of arrivals to which is too higher than Kashmir. We appeal the government to look into it as we already have suffered a lot from last many years,” Dugg said.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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