Winter tourism season begins early

Srinagar, Nov 9: The season’s first snowfall in higher reaches of the Kashmir valley, including the famous resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam, has paved way for initiation of early winter tourism her...

Srinagar, Nov 9: The season's first snowfall in higher reaches of the Kashmir valley, including the famous resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam, has paved way for initiation of early winter tourism here.  With it, the authorities have announced special packages and discounts for tourists all over the world.
 Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday launched an exclusive ski-Gulmarg package during the on-going World Travel Mart in London. Officials said it was launched by a high level state delegation led by the minister for Tourism, Nawang Ringzin Jora, which announced the season's first snowfall in the Valley to attract tourists. 
 Tourism officials and the travel agents of the valley have been receiving enquiries for bookings at various tourist resorts.
 "Following the early snowfall, we are flooded with enquiries from domestic tourists. In view of the expected heavy rush, various packages for tourists have been launched," said the deputy director, Tourism, Mehmood Ahmad.  
 Pertinently, the annual skiing championships and training programs are scheduled at Gulmarg from December 15.
 "In the event of more snowfall, we can organise winter related games, including skiing, earlier. We will encourage local participation," he added.
 In view of the early snowfall, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation has announced special discounts on its accommodations.
 "The winter tourism season is all set for an early kick-start in view the snowfall. We will be providing 50 per cent discount on our accommodation in Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Yousmarg," said JKTDC's managing director, Satish Nehru.
 The Corporation's general manager, Travel Division, Shamim Ahmad, said many foreigners had made advance bookings for the Ski-Gulmarg package. Under it, foreigners will have to pay 449 US dollars per pax (person) for six nights. The package includes ski-equipment on rent, accommodation, food and transport to and fro Airport.
 "This is the most economical package for skiing. In foreign ski-destination, 300 dollars per day are charged for ski-equipment only. That is why the package has evoked an instant response," Shamim said.
 In addition, he said, the Corporation had announced a honeymoon package which includes accommodation, food and transport, at a nominal Rs 18,999 for four days."
 "Snowfall has come as a boon for the tourism sector. We hope to cater to majority of 39,000 newly-wed couples from New Delhi alone," Shamim said.
 During the World Travel Mart in London, the director, Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah, highlighted the contribution of British in promoting tourism in Kashmir.

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