SRINAGAR: The world-renowned ski resort of Gulmarg has emerged as the top choice for tourists, attracting nearly 14 lakh visitors in the first ten months of the year, including 9,000 foreigners and around four lakh local tourists.
Situated in the Pir Panjal range of the Western Himalayas at an altitude of 8,690 feet, Gulmarg, meaning ‘Meadow of Flowers‘ in Kashmiri, is surrounded by snow-capped alps, lush green pastures, vibrant meadows, deep valleys, and pine-covered slopes.
The main draw for visitors is the Gulmarg Gondola, Asia’s largest and highest cable car project, ranking as the world’s second-largest and second-highest.
According to the Directorate of Tourism, there has been a notable increase in tourist footfall from January to October, totalling 1,380,273 visitors, including 993,456 domestic tourists, 377,921 locals, and 8,896 foreign guests.
Local residents express optimism, citing a fruitful tourism season with expectations of continued growth due to upcoming events and cultural programs. Tourists, lured by the prospect of witnessing snowfall, have been flocking to Gulmarg and its adjacent areas, such as Tangmarg, Boothapathri, Kongdori Peak, Affarwath Peak, and Babareshi, where fresh snowfall has been experienced.
Sajad Ahmad, a Gulmarg resident, acknowledges the improved tourism flow and anticipates further growth. Local hoteliers express gratitude to the tourism department for effective promotion, noting a positive trend in tourist influx.
Tourism sector representatives welcome the resurgence in local business after nearly three years, with Gulmarg hoteliers reporting high occupancy rates. Lateef Ahmed, a local hotelier, expresses satisfaction with the current season, stating that all hotels are fully booked, marking a successful period after several years. (KNO)