Gulmarg is all set to receive a record number of tourists this winter and authorities are busy in providing all possible facilities for the visiting guests.
The ski resort is ready for winter tourism, and all possible facilities and opportunities are being explored for visiting guests this year, officials said.
The J&K Department of Tourism, along with all concerned stakeholders, including the Gulmarg Development Authority, JKTDC, Youth Services and Sports, Cable Car Corporation, PDD, R&B Jal Shakti, etc., is finalising the preparations for the four months of winter tourism.
All the possibilities and opportunities are being explored, and it will be a source of pleasant memories for the tourists, officials said, adding that all the arrangements are being finalised in view of the winter tourism in Gulmarg, a popular tourist destination in the Kashmir valley.
Mushtaqul Hasan, a hotel owner in Gulmarg, told UNI that, in view of the winter tourism, the concerned authorities are busy finalising all the preparations.
He said last year a large number of tourists visited here in winter even though there was no place to stay in the hotels, and this year there is even more hope and suitable arrangements are being put in place by the authorities.
He said Gulmarg remains more busy with the rush of tourists during the winter than in the rest of the year, and people associated with this sector earn their livelihood handsomely. Gulmarg is expecting to receive a record number of tourists this year, he said.
Keeping in view the rush of tourists, authorities had already arranged a “homestay” facility to provide accommodation and food for the tourists in the famous skiing resort of Gulmarg.
Meanwhile, Secretary of Tourism Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed has recently urged all officers to ensure the availability of all facilities for tourists during winter tourism in Gulmarg.
He also directed the officers to audit the basic facilities in Gulmarg and remove the deficiencies before the onset of winter.
Rasheed asked the officers to hold meetings with hotel owners, Pony walas, transporters, and other stakeholders for the proper conduct of tourism activities in Gulmarg during the winter.
The tourism secretary stressed the importance of exploring winter tourism potential in Gulmarg and urged the officials to ensure smooth traffic movement in Gulmarg, besides parking facilities in Tangmarg.
He asked for coordinated cooperation from all departments so that tourists can go back with pleasant memories, and instructions were also given to establish a common control room comprising all the concerned departments.
According to official data available, 1.52 million tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir till August this year, compared to 1.88 million tourists last year. This year, the number of tourists is likely to exceed two hundred million, he said.
According to officials, the government is promoting 75 new tourist destinations where all necessary infrastructure will be made available.
He said after the successful G20 tourism meet held in Srinagar, there has been an increase in the number of foreign tourists as well.
It is noteworthy that the Kashmir Valley is the most suitable place for tourism even during winter. The snow-clad mountains draw tourists from warmer regions to enjoy the snowfall here.