5.5 lakh tourists visit Gulmarg this year so far, Sonamarg witnesses nearly 7 lakh visitors: Officials

A group of men ready to leave for a skiing ride in Gulmarg. [FPK Photo/ Mukhtar Zahoor]

Gulmarg: Gulmarg known as the best skiing destination in the world for its powdery snow is expected to see massive arrival of visitors this winter.

Assistant Director Tourism, Gulmarg, Javeed Ahmed said that above 15 lakh tourists visited the alpine meadow till November and the count is expected to reach 16 lakh by the year end. Last year, 15.5 lakh tourists visited Gulmarg, he added.

This year, according to him, 1097983 domestic tourists, 395873 locals and 9750 foreigners visited Gulmarg.

As of now, an average 4000 people visited the destination on a daily basis but the daily numbers will see a significant increase from now onwards till July, Javeed said.

The increased number has created job opportunities in various sectors including hospitality, transportation besides adventure tourism. Waseem Ahmed Bhat, an adventure tour operator expressed satisfaction over the tourist influx.

Meanwhile, to avoid any inconvenience to visitors due to slippery road conditions caused by snow, the authorities have urged travellers to equip their vehicles with anti-skid chains.

Sonamarg in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district has also emerged as a tourist hotspot, captivating nearly seven lakh visitors in the past eleven months.

“From January to November, there has been a surge in tourist numbers, totalling 674,566. This included 614,678 domestic visitors and 7,022 foreigners, marking a historic first-time visit to Sonamarg by 52,866 locals,” an official of the tourism department informed.

He said the influx of tourists has significantly benefited local businesses and hospitality services and has led to increased demand for accommodations, guided tours and unique local experiences.

The literal translation of Sonamarg, meaning ‘The Meadow of Gold’ comes to life with snow-clad mountains against a spectacular blue sky at an altitude of 2730 meters, making it a mesmerising hill station in the Ganderbal district.

The economic impact of this tourism surge is evident, showcasing a notable boost in Sonamarg’s tourism sector. As the region continues to charm visitors with its pristine landscapes, alpine meadows, and awe-inspiring mountains, Sonamarg is poised to solidify its status as a must-visit destination on the global tourism map.

This success story reflects the natural beauty of Sonamarg and the collaborative efforts of stakeholders dedicated to promoting and sustaining tourism in this picturesque corner of the Ganderbal district.

Secretary of Tourism, Dr Abid Rashid Shah has emphasised the importance of disseminating a ‘Dos and Don’ts’ document for winter precautions, highlighting the role of hoteliers.

Similarly, Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal Shyambir has called for basic life support training and sensitisation programmes for hoteliers.

In a meeting held recently, the officials discussed winter activities, including skiing courses starting on January 10, 2024, and a mega New Year festival on December 31. The Secretary reiterated the administration’s commitment to promoting Sonamarg as an all-weather tourist destination.


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by FPK staff and is published from a syndicated feed from KNO)

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