Let it snow: Kashmir's tourism sector breathes sigh of relief

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Srinagar (J&K) [India] Feb 2. (ANI): After the scenic Kashmir valley burnt in violence and terror for at least five months last summer, the state's tourism sector is hoping to recover lost ground with the beginning of the 15-day 'Snow Fest' at North Kashmir ski resort Gulmarg from Thurday. The resort, which is covered in a thick blanket of snow, will encourage tourists and locals with a whole lot of winter sports and other activities. Gulmarg has received at least 7-feet of snowfall this year which makes it big attraction for tourists. Hoping for a great tourist season, Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah said, "The 15-day-long fest will have skiing, snow-boarding, sledge race, ice-skating, night skiing and other winter sports activities besides a snow sculpturing event. Coaching camps will also be held at Gulmarg during this period". Citing the number of tourists arriving everyday at around 100, Shah said, "tourists had already started arriving in good numbers and they were looking forward to an increase in footfalls in the coming days". Incidentally, just when the tourism season had started to peak last year, widespread protests after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's killing on July 8 had pushed the sector into dire straits. ven as the peak summer months were lost to the unrest, the stakeholders are now hoping for full resumption of tourism activities in the remaining winter months. According to official estimates, the tourism sector suffered a loss of over Rs 3,000 crore in the summer months last year. With an improvement in the situation, the tourism stakeholders had recently participated in several travel marts held in various parts of the country, including Mumbai, Ahmadabad and Kolkata. The tourism department also hosted a 'Fam Tour' for leading tour operators of the country last month and they had assured that tourists would soon start coming back in large numbers.(ANI)