`There’s nothing like Kashmir’: Tourist arrivals set to break all previous records this winter

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Skiers line up at the only chairlift in Gulmarg, a resort in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Srinagar: Tourist arrivals in winter are set to break all previous records in Kashmir.

Travel agents claimed that bookings have surged by more than 20 percent during the last few weeks, which indicates a successful winter season for Kashmir tourism.

 President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir Rauf Tramboo told The Kashmir Monitor that the winter is all set to break the previous records of arrivals.

 “We are getting a good number of queries for December, January, and February. Since Kashmir is famous for its white winter, tourists love to spend their vacations in the valleys of Gulmarg and Pahalgam. Even during autumn, which used to be a lean period of Kashmir tourism, we received a good number of tourists,” he said.

  Tramboo said the government’s decision to open Sonamarg for tourists this winter, will further increase the rush of tourists towards Kashmir.

 “During winters, Gulmarg used to be the main attraction. This winter, we are getting a good number of queries for Sonmarg. There is immense potential for a winter adventure in Sonmarg and we hope the government holds multiple programmes in Somarnag to promote it on a large scale,” he said.

 President TAAK said that they are getting a maximum number of bookings for December. “It’s Christmas and New Year, so tourists like to celebrate both these occasions in Kashmir. We are getting enormous queries for Gulmarg for Christmas and New Year, ” he said.

 Travel agents said they have included new services in their packages to make their visit memorable for tourists this winter.

 “Apart from offering tourists a discount, we have planned gala dinners and musical evenings on the eve of Christmas and New Year’s Day. Additionally, those who come in January and beyond will be taken to Sonmarg and Doodhpathri for winter adventure sports,”  Farah Rashid, a travel agent said.

 An official of the tourism department said they have chalked out a strategy for the winter season to offer diverse services to tourists.

 “The winter plan is being done. From winter sports to festivals,  tourists will get to see a blend of adventure and entertainment this winter at different destinations,” he said.

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