J&K Government, tourism department takes initiatives to attract tourists in winters – Watch


Srinagar: While Kashmir witnessed a huge tourist arrival in Summer this year, The government of Jammu and Kashmir along with the Tourism department is leaving no stone unturned to make the winter season attractive for tourists to visit Kashmir Valley.  The tourism department of Jammu and Kashmir is planning a huge set of events for the coming weeks and one of the events ”Houseboat Winter Festival” was held at the World famous Dal Lake. Glittering Shikaras over the Dal Lake with Zabarwan Hills in the background amid minus-degree temperatures is a view that can only be witnessed in the Kashmir Valley.  Houseboats which are generally fully booked during the winter are for the first time preparing to host guests during the winter season. Dal Lake freezes during the winter and to give a unique experience to the tourists, these shikaras and houseboats are being kept ready to host the tourists. 

“The main purpose of the houseboat festival is to project a winter that is warm, the winter that is vibrant, the winter that is welcoming to all. The purpose is not to just show the houseboats but the whole of Kashmir for the coming winter season. We are starting ski courses in Gulmarg, we are also starting ski courses in Gulmarg and Doodhpathri. Apart from that Pahalgam is going to remain open. We have enough rooms with all the facilities available to host tourists in winter” said Fazal Ul Haseeb, Director of Tourism.

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Kashmir has always seen a huge tourist rush for the Ski resort Gulmarg in the winter but this year the government is pushing other destinations like Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Doodhpathri, and Yusmarg. All the arrangements to host the tourists have been made. 

Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary of Tourism said “The houseboat festival is so beautiful, the houseboat people are here, shikara walas are here to welcome the tourists in winter. We are all geared up for winter and we are hoping a lot of tourists will come to the Valley in winter. The winter experience here is unparalleled. All winter destinations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonamarg will be open. The Ski will start at Sonamarg this year. At Doodhpathri, we would organise cross-country skiing. The visitors will have many options to visit. The houseboats would be open during the winter for tourists to enjoy the lake during winters. Kashmir’s Gulmarg is called the winter wonderland. The tourist stakeholders in the valley are hopeful for great winter tourist arrivals. And all the preparations have been put in place. 

“Branding is a must to promote anything. These events were not held earlier especially with regard to houseboats, this year it’s the second festival and I am sure we will benefit due to it. The festival will be watched across the world and we are expecting more tourist arrivals this year. The houseboats will be open for tourists in the winter months to enjoy the cold, Manzoor Pakhtoon secretary Houseboat Association said. 

Kashmir had remained always a favourite destination for tourists, Diksha a tourist said “It’s beautiful and there are no words to describe the beauty of Kashmir. It’s very attractive. We love this festival. “We have come with all winter wear and we are enjoying the weather. We are going everywhere in the next few days. 

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With the MeT department predicting snowfall across the Kashmir region from today, the tourist stakeholders have been getting queries and bookings for the coming few weeks. It has been always witnessed that the more Kashmir witnesses snow, the more tourist arrivals will happen. As Kashmir witnessed more than 23 lac tourist footfall till now this year and by the end of the year it is expected that it will cross 25 lacs and which will be an all-time high tourist footfall in Kashmir since independence.

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