Artists will also be busy in Snow Sculpting Competition

Hotels at ski-resort sold out for Christmas, New Year

Sabreen Ashraf

Srinagar, Dec 14

The hotels at ski resort Gulmarg are sold out for Christmas and New Year Celebrations being organised by the State’s tourism department in collaboration with J&K Hoteliers Club from December 25 to December 31.

Skiers at a Gulmarg slope

Heli-skiing, snowboarding, skiing, alpine skiing, nordic skiing, snow volleyball, snow rugby, snow cycling, ice-skating, tree-line-skiing, snow mobile race, ice hockey, ice climbing, snow sculpting competitions besides cultural programmes are the main features during the events.

Mukhtar Shah who heads the Gulmarg Chapter of Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers Club said festivities have attracted 100 percent hotel occupancy.

Snow Cycling and other activities are the main features of the festival

“Domestic tourists are in good number compared to foreigners but almost all hotels are sold out,” he said.

Shah said the early snowfall has attracted tourists to Gulmarg in large numbers.

“We are lucky to have witnessed early seasonal snowfall this year which will allow help us organise programmes smoothly,” he said.

Snowladen Gulmarg

Hoteliers have also invited media from outside the State to showcase them how tourist are enjoying their visits to Kashmir.

Hoteliers’ Club is also organising night skiing which will be one of the key attractions for the event.

The Festival information, Shah said, has been also posted on social media to mass awareness.

“We are going to open Gulmarg Club for night musical events so that people will fully enjoy their visit,” he said.

He said despite negative portrayal of Kashmir by electronic national media, the tourist footfall to Valley was good this year.

General Secretary of Hoteliers Club Gulmarg Chapter Akib Chaya said on New Year eve, hotels are almost packed and they are also receiving good bookings for upcoming months.

“Gulmarg is the main attraction for visitors during winter months. Lot of people even locals come for skiing and other activities. We are also hopeful of good bookings for early next year,” he said.

Gulmarg Gondola

“We’re trying our level best to let travellers know Kashmir is a safe place to travel,”

A hotelier at Gulmarg said they have been receiving requests from locals also for booking.

“However, there are no rooms available. Even if there are few rooms, they have been kept reserved for any important booking,” he said.

Chief Executive officer (CEO) at Gulmarg Development Authority Syed Hanief Balkhi said Gulmarg will witness good tourist footfall this winter.

“As we are getting great response, we are hoping for good number of tourists this winter,” Balkhi said.

He said all facilities will be provided to tourists coming during winter season.

“We’re trying our level best to let travellers know Kashmir is a safe place to travel,” Balkhi said.

CEO GDA said tourists would start visiting Kashmir again if the threat perception about the Valley is dispelled.

“Almost 70 percent of the hotels are fully occupied. Some hotels are reporting that they are already sold out,” he said.

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