SRINAGAR Asserting that Gulmarg, a world-famed tourist destinationis offering wide-range of facilities, Advisor to the Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai on Monday urged tourists to visit the Statehaving diverse tourism products and unmatched beauty.
While kickstarting series of winter sports activities at Gulmarg including national snow-skating championship, Ganai, said that this winter, Gulmarg is humming with life under a thick blanket of snow as hundreds of tourists have made it their destination for skiing, snow skating, snow-biking, sledge riding, snowboarding, heli-skiing, among other activities.
Ganai, who was flanked by Secretary Tourism, J&K Govt, RigzianSampheal, Director Tourism, Kashmir, Nisar Ahmad Wani, CEO, Gulmarg Development Authority, Muhammad HaniefBalki among other officers, said besides Gulmarg the tourists also have option to visit other beautiful places too. He said that the number of domestic tourists has also gone up and authorities were looking forward to a path-breaking tourist inflow this winter. He said that over eight lakh domestic and 50,000 foreign tourists have visited Kashmir this year so far and the hotel occupancy at Gulmarg is almost 100 per cent for the New Year eve.
He said that tourism and hospitality sector is upbeat as we are targeting to cross over 13 lakh tourist inflow inKashmir.
I would like to send across a strong message to the people across the world that they shouldnt mind the harsh weather, they shouldnt mind the cold as Kashmir is calling and waiting for their arrival, Ganai said. The tourist arrivals have picked up and more tourists are comings, which is heart-warming for all the tourist stakeholders and service providers.
He said bookings have also picked up which can be gauged from the fact that the Gulmarg is fully packed for New Year.
On Gulmarg Gondola, Ganai said that the worlds highest cable car is proving to be a boon for tourism. He said that the slopes of Gulmarg offer steep and soft snow, adding that the powder snow and other features of this resort were breathtaking for the adventure tourism and they shouldnt miss any chance to visit Kashmir region.
Ganai urged hoteliers and tourism stakeholders to slash down hotel tariffswhich often go high during peak seasons in Kashmir.
Ganai said that the government would provide all possible assistance to the tourism stakeholders in their efforts to project Kashmir as the worlds top tourism destination. He urged the service providers and stakeholders to work towards placing famed Kashmir among the world top tourism destinations by the year 2020. Ganaisuggested for introducing effective tourist friendly measures to make the stay of the tourists longer in Kashmir. He also stressed on the need to introduce various attractions such as evening cultural shows among other festivals for extending the nightlife.
Ganai on his visit to government-run ski-shop at Gulmarg, reviewed the facilities and directed the officials to provide all possible assistance to the tourists and ski-lovers.
Later, Ganai inaugurated the cultural programme and New Year celebrations, at Gulmarg Golf Club. He said that Gulmarg is not only USP of the State tourism but of the entire country.
In his welcome address, Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Nisar Ahmad Wani said that that the department is making all the facilities in place for the hassle-free travel of the tourists.
We are developing Gulmarg into a world class skiing destination where intentional competitions will be held for the adventure travelers, Wani said.
On the occasion, artists including ShafiSopori, Imran Latief enthralled the audience with their performances.
The Advisor was accompanied by Senior Superintendent of Police, Baramulla, Imtiyaz Hussain, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, Farooq Ahmad Baba, Deputy Director, Tourism (Publicity) Riyaz Ahmad Shah, Deputy Director, Tourism (Recreation) Sarfaraz Muhammad.
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