Gulmarg witnesses record-breaking tourist influx of 1.65 million in 2023

Surpasses previous year’s 1.5 million mark; mostly foreign tourists visiting valley, say officials, assure this winter will be ‘heaven’ for adventure enthusiasts

Gulmarg, Dec 29  : In a remarkable testament to its enduring allure, Gulmarg, the famous ski-resort, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, now adorned in a pristine white cloak, has set a new milestone by welcoming an astounding 1.65 million tourists throughout the year 2023.

The destination served as an irresistible draw for visitors seeking not only thrilling winter sports but also the tranquillity of its breathtaking scenery. Offering a unique blend of adventure and natural beauty, the substantial influx of tourists underscores Gulmarg’s position as a top-tier destination.

Speaking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Assistant Director Tourism, Gulmarg, Javeed-ur-Rehman said that the destination recorded around 16.50 lakh tourist arrivals in the year 2023, surpassing the previous year’s mark of 15.4 lakhs.

“Gulmarg is a jewel in the winter tourism crown, offering not only world-class skiing and mesmerizing views but also an opportunity to immerse oneself in the genuine warmth of Kashmiri hospitality,” he said. He said this year they are expecting a significant rise in tourist footfall, saying the destination is witnessing an average tourist arrival of 5,000.

On the eve of Christmas only, Gulmarg recorded the significant arrival of 10,000 tourists. What is more fascinating is the arrival of foreign tourists. “The allure of Gulmarg was heightened by the enchanting ambience of the holiday season. Once winter activities are going to take place, foreign arrivals will significantly rise,” the AD Tourism said, adding, “The destination is geared up for the new year and winter season boom. The hospitality sector, including hotels and guesthouses, is operating at full capacity, showcasing its ability to seamlessly host a large influx of tourists.”

Meanwhile, in a fervent call to the visitors, Rehman urged tourists to explore the unparalleled beauty of Kashmir. He highlighted not only the breathtaking landscapes but also the renowned hospitality that awaits visitors. “Come, be a part of the magic that is Kashmir. Let Gulmarg enchant you, and may the genuine hospitality of our people create memories that last a lifetime,” he said in a message to the tourists.

Meanwhile, an official from the tourism department, sharing the details of tourist influx for the year 2023, said Gulmarg recorded a record-breaking tourist influx of 16.50 lakh.

As per the official, in January, the total number of tourists was 95,989, which included 69,383 domestic, 26,149 local, and 457 foreigners. Similarly, in February, 92,412 total tourist arrivals were recorded. In March, 119,350 tourists marked their significance, in April 136,096 was recorded, while in May, 154,284 influx was recorded.

It was seen as a significant marking and a peak month for tourist arrivals at the destination in June and July. In June, 2,08,011 people visited the destination, which included 1,57,720 domestic arrivals, and 49,945 locals, while 346 foreigners also contributed to the numbering. In July only, 2,15,465 tourist influx was recorded, which includes 103,207 domestic arrivals, 1,11,519 locals, and 739 foreigners.

Similarly in August, 1,21,941 visitors visited the famous destination, September recorded 1,11,968 arrivals, and in October 1,24,757. In November 1,23,333 marked their presence while December recorded around 1,46,500 arrivals, mostly domestic and foreigners.

It is pertinent to mention that the authorities and the tourism officials are collaborating seamlessly to ensure the safety and satisfaction of the influx of guests, by implementing measures for crowd control, traffic management and the overall welfare of the visitors.

The iconic Gulmarg Gondola – Asia’s highest cable car – remained a major attraction, providing panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks that captivated the hearts of adventure seekers.

Speaking to KNO, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Gulmarg, Syed Altaf Hussain said that ahead of a winter season In Gulmarg, the administration is fully geared up and is done with the necessary preparations to ensure a safe, enjoyable and well-managed experience for everyone.

The official asked the visitors to stay informed about weather updates and follow safety guidelines. He urged them to cooperate with the authorities to make the winter season in Gulmarg a memorable experience. “The safety of residents and visitors is our top priority, especially in winters when roads are unpredictable,” he said.

Meanwhile, to ensure the safety of the people amidst the prevailing harsh weather, a control room has been also established to facilitate a swift response in the face of potential weather challenges. People have been asked to contact the officials of the SDM office at the time of any emergency, which includes Owais Ahmed (7889805393), Faisal Fayaz (7006952814), and Suhail Ahmed Parrah (9596516456).

Director Tourism, Raja Yaqoob speaking on the occasion of Christmas celebrations at the ski-resort said, “Mostly foreign tourists are coming to the valley, which is a happy gesture. Gulmarg is geared up for the winter season; the destination is packed up, followed by Pahalgam and Sonamarg, which is opening for the first for the winter.”

The officials from the tourism department said this winter season will be heaven for adventure enthusiasts as the destination has been geared up to offer an array of winter activities and sports including Skiing, Snowboarding, Gondola rides, Sleigh rides, Snowshoeing, Ice Skating to welcome them besides cultural events and festivals, which Gulmarg often hosts during the winter season to allow the visitors to immerse themselves in the rich heritage of Kashmir—(KNO) 

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