Srinagar, Nov 17: To woo tourists back to the valley, the J&K Tourism Department is all set to announce its schedule for winter season with special packages being drafted to ensure full occupancy on Christmas and the New Year’s Eve.
After last week’s snowfall, the tourist flow to the valley has improved with fresh booking queries coming in for valley’s highest skiing resort, Gulmarg.
Director Tourism Nisar Ahmad Wani said the department is in the process to resume tourism activities in the valley by framing its schedule for winter adventure in Kashmir.
“Tourists are coming now especially after last week’s snowfall. We are planning our programmes for winter season, which will be filled with fun and adventure for tourists,” Wani told The Kashmir Monitor.
An official in the Tourism Department said the adventure sports schedule is being framed by them to cater to the high-end backpackers.
“Gulmarg, which received a good snowfall in November, has always been a winter attraction for tourists. So the department is framing the schedule for various programmes, which focuses on adventure sports,” he said.
“Skiing, snow skating and marathons will be organised, which will see participation by people from different states of India and foreign countries as well,” the official said.
He added a mega competition of snow sculpture and photo exhibition will be also organised by the department most likely in January.
“Snow sculpture has been witnessing a good participation by the artists from Kashmir and other states. We are getting good response worldwide for this competition every year,” the official said.
On Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the official said various cultural shows and music programmes will be held by the department in Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
To mention, Kashmir tourism received a heavy blow after government issued an advisory in August this year asking Yatris and tourists to leave Kashmir.
It was followed by the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two union territories, a development that rattled Kashmir and continues to affect the normal life until now.
The advisory was eventually removed by the government on October 10 after which, as per official figures, as many as 10,000 tourists visited the valley. Over 7000 of these were domestic tourists.
The figure is 95% less compared to 1,85,057 tourists who visited the valley in the same period last year.
This year July witnessed the maximum flow of tourists when 1,52,000 backpackers from different countries and states of India visited the valley.