Kashmir Valley gets record number of tourists; Gulmarg’s Ski resort fully booked for New Year, Christmas

Written By: Idrees Lone WION
Srinagar Published: Dec 07, 2021, 03:11 PM(IST)

More than one lakh tourists visited Kashmir Valley in November. Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

Kashmir Valley has witnessed a record number of tourist arrivals in the last one month. As per government reports, more than one lakh tourists visited Kashmir Valley in November, breaking a record of seven years. With the valley receiving a fresh spell of snowfall, the famous Ski resort Gulmarg has been thronged by tourists

Kashmir Valley has witnessed a record number of tourist arrivals in the last one month. As per government reports, more than one lakh tourists visited Kashmir Valley in November, breaking a record of seven years.   

With the valley receiving a fresh spell of snowfall, the famous Ski resort Gulmarg has been thronged by tourists. The arrivals of the tourists is expected to increase in the coming few weeks. Christmas and New year attracts several tourists to the valley.   

''The view is mesmerising; I wasn't expecting this climate. It's very beautiful and a treat to our eyes and I am very happy, we got to see snow and sunshine which is the best to look at. it's heaven on earth and I would come again and again to visit Gulmarg and ask my friends to come,” said Shivani Chadha, a tourist.  

“Every human being needs to visit Kashmir. I will come again. We are vaccinated and we didn't find much hassle with regard to that,'' added Chadha.   

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Tourists, who are visiting the valley, are impressed with the beauty and service that they would recommend others to come to Kashmir as well.   

''It's wonderful and feels like a winter wonderland for people who have not experienced snow at all. And you should make a trip here during winters as well as summers to experience the greenery and snow. It was my first time with lovely people, great food. It's like a postcard all around and very nice. Drop all your apprehensions and come here. Everyone should visit, '' said Ashwini, another tourist.  

The Gondola ride in Gulmarg is one of the most mesmerising rides to witness the breathtaking visuals of the snow-covered mountains. It's the highest and longest ropeway in Asia. The Gondola starts from the Gulmarg and takes you at a height of 13,000ft above sea level to the mountains of Apharwat.  According to the officials, In the last three months, around 2,000 to 3,000 people have taken this ropeway every day.   

''The response was very good this time. It snowed yesterday and we are seeing a lot of rush. We expect good footfall this winter. From the past three months, we are seeing 2,000-3,000 people avail Gondola facilities every day. The bookings which we are looking at are very good and we expect a huge rush in the coming winter,” said Showkat Ahmad, in-charge, Gondola.   

“We have put everything in place and follow covid protocol. We only board four people in one car if required. This year, we expect that we will see a good footfall,'' added Ahmad.  

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Tourism is one of the major sectors in Kashmir. Thousands of people are associated with the sector. A lot of business was lost due to Covid in the last two years, and this time, stakeholders are expecting to make up for the losses in the business.    

''A lot of tourists are coming, thank God for that. Due to Covid, we didn't see many visitors last winter but this time, the tourist inflow is good. The international flights are still restricted and that's why we see a lot of domestic tourists coming to Kashmir. Our livelihood depends on it. Tourists should come and we make sure that everyone follows Covid protocols. All tourists, who used to travel abroad, will most probably come to Kashmir. We want them to come to the valley and explore,'' said Aijaz Ahmad, tourist guide.   

Most of the hotels in Gulmarg have been completely booked around the Christmas and New Year. The government is preparing for the huge tourist inflow and also putting in place a new Covid protocol. 

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