Tourist influx to Gulmarg surges ahead of G20 meet
Gulmarg: Tourists are coming in droves to Gulmarg in Baramulla district ahead of the G20 summit in the valley, with the ski-resort witnessing more than 2.5 lakh visitors in the last two months alone.
In the first four months of the year, Gulmarg has received 4,43,847 visitors – 4,218 foreigners, 72,426 locals, and 3,67,203 domestic.
The town has gone under an elaborate sprucing up ahead of a three-day Tourism Working Group meeting of the G-20 countries scheduled to take place in the valley from May 22.
In March, 1,19,350 visitors – 1,04,121 domestic, 14,032 local, and 1,197 foreigners – visited Gulmarg. The numbers swelled up in April to 1,36,096, out of which 1,20,009 were domestic, 14,617 local, and 1,470 foreigners.
The April numbers are up from 95,989 in January.
The main attraction for the visitors is the Gulmarg Gondola – Asia’s largest and highest, and the world’s second-largest and second highest cable car project.
The cable car alone has witnessed almost four lakh visitors since the beginning of this year.
The official figures suggest 3,99,998 visitors have taken the Gondola ride from January 1, 2023 to May 17.
“We had a huge rush of tourists last year and received unprecedented numbers. The Gulmarg Gondola touched Rs 100 crore sales last year. This is good for the tourism industry, and the overall image of J&K,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gulmarg Development Authority, Ghulam Jeelani Zargar, told PTI Video.
He said this year also, there is a huge rush of visitors.
“Due to the G20 event, a huge number of domestic tourists are arriving in Gulmarg. In fact, we will also be receiving foreign tourists because of the G20 because a message will go across the world that Kashmir is very beautiful, and is not less in any way than any top or prestigious international destination,” he said.
Gulmarg, famed for its breathtaking snow-capped mountains and glassy lakes, is a far cry from the dusty bustle of the plains, and finds a place on the holiday checklist of most Indians.
“Gulmarg is a wonderful place. The road to the tourist resort is the best. We faced some problems at some other places, but not here. We want facilities to be at par everywhere,” Prakash, a tourist from Maharashtra, said.
Another tourist, Jignesh Shah, said the resort was a great place and they faced no problems.
“Feel very happy, I am enjoying it. Gulmarg is a great place, you can be here for 3-4 days. There is no problem, everyone should come here. Security personnel and local guides are helpful and you will face no problems,” he said.
“We feel very good here. The place and the weather is very good. This is a mini-Switzerland and people should keep it clean. We are proud of J&K,” M S Chanal, a tourist from Karnataka, said.
Kashmir is the best place and the atmosphere at the resort is absolutely wonderful.
“We are on a family trip and have been here for the last 3-4 days. The atmosphere is absolutely wonderful. We are enjoying ourselves. There is a tourist rush here. I think Kashmir is the best place for summer. Tourists should come here with their families. The people here are very good, the scenery is amazing. You will enjoy it here,” Sunil Yadav, from Delhi, said.
While the main event will take place in Srinagar, the G20 delegates are likely to visit the north Kashmir resort.