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In The Spotlight

February 20, 2024
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The picturesque Sonamarg is making history by hosting its first-ever national-level event in winter sports – the 8th National Snowshoe Championship-2024. Snowshoeing is quickly becoming a favourite for outdoor winter activity. Combining aerobic activity with ease of walking over snow without sinking in, snowshoeing is an activity for all ages. Pertinently, snowshoe races are part of the Arctic Winter Games and the winter Special Olympics. Over 200 athletes representing 13 states across India are participating in various events throughout the three-day championship that started on Sunday. The previous editions of the championship were traditionally held at the popular North Kashmir ski-resort Gulmarg. Snowshoe events like the 8th National Snowshoe Championship-2024 in Sonamarg can significantly boost tourism in Kashmir in several ways. Hosting national-level events such as the snowshoe championship puts destinations like Sonamarg in the spotlight. The addition of Sonamarg as a venue for winter sports is excellent news for enthusiasts, as it provides another location in Kashmir capable of hosting significant national-level events. Snowshoeing is a sport that can be conducted in any snowy region of India, without the need for extensive infrastructure upgrades. Minor facilities adjustments suffice to accommodate the sport, and no specialized training is necessary; participants only need to possess a passion for athletics. Furthermore, snowshoe competitions enjoy popularity in various western countries, making them an attractive draw for tourists from around the world. This increased visibility attracts attention from adventure seekers and sports enthusiasts who may not have considered Kashmir as a winter sports destination before. Organizing such events necessitates the development of infrastructure and facilities to accommodate participants and spectators. This includes lodging, transportation, and other amenities, which not only improve the overall visitor experience but also contribute to the long-term development of the region. Hosting events like the snowshoe championship injects revenue into the local economy through increased tourism activity. Hotels, restaurants, shops, and other businesses benefit from the influx of visitors, creating employment opportunities and stimulating economic growth in the area. Events that bring together participants from different states encourage cultural exchange and interaction. Tourists visiting Sonamarg for the championship have the opportunity to engage with locals, learn about their culture and traditions, and forge connections that transcend geographical boundaries. The championship highlights Kashmir’s potential as a prime destination for adventure tourism, particularly in the winter months. The rugged terrain and snow-covered landscapes provide the perfect setting for snowshoeing and other winter sports, attracting adventure enthusiasts seeking new and exciting experiences. Beyond the immediate economic impact, hosting events like the snowshoe championship can have long-term benefits for tourism development. Positive experiences shared by participants and spectators can lead to word-of-mouth promotion and repeat visits, establishing Sonamarg and Kashmir as premier winter sports destinations. Overall, snowshoe events play a crucial role in promoting tourism in Kashmir by showcasing the region’s natural beauty, cultural richness and adventure opportunities. By leveraging the success of events like the National Snowshoe Championship-2024, Kashmir can continue to attract visitors and position itself as a top winter sports destination in India.

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