KASHMIR: Kashmir Valley has witnessed a record number of tourist arrivals in the last one month. Government reports say over one lakh tourists visited Kashmir Valley in the month of November, breaking a record of seven years.
With the Valley receiving a fresh spell of snowfall, the famous Ski resort Gulmarg is thronged by tourists from across the country and world. The tourist arrivals are expected to increase in the coming few weeks. White Christmas and New Year are what attracts most of the tourists to the Valley.
”The view is mesmerizing; 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. 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 ” said Shivani Chadha, Tourist.
Tourists visiting the Valley are so impressed with the beauty and service that they recommend others to come to Kashmir as well.
” It’s wonderful and It’s 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, a tourist.
The Gondola ride in Gulmarg is one of the most mesmerising rides to witness the breath-taking 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 13000ft above sea level to the mountains of Apharwat. According to the officials, In the last three months, around 2-3 thousand 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 2000-3000 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. We have put everything in place and follow covid protocol. We only board 4 people in one car if required. This year we expect that we will see a good footfall. ” said Showkat Ahmad, Incharge Gondola.
Tourism is one of the major industries of Kashmir Valley. 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 lost business.
”A lot of tourists are coming, thank God for that. Due to covid, we didn’t see much last winter but this time tourist inflow is good. 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 everyone is following 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 Christmas and New Year. The government is preparing for the huge tourist inflow and also putting in place a new covid protocol.