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Most Gulmarg hotels booked until mid-April | India News


NEW DELHI: As mercury soars across the plains, ski-loving tourists flock to a snowy Gulmarg. Most of the hotels in this picturesque Kashmir town are fully booked until March and some even until mid-April with many wealthy domestic tourists, who used to flock to foreign ski paradises for their annual winter holidays in the pre-season. -Covid, discovering Gulmarg as a refreshing alternative closer to home.
Not just ski enthusiasts, mostly from Delhi and Mumbai, Gulmarg also attracts less adventurous people bored of being confined to their homes for a year. “The peaceful atmosphere at J&K over the past few years and mandatory Covid tests at airports have made tourism here a safe alternative to flying abroad,” says Vinit Chhabra, General Manager of The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa in Gulmarg.
As many as 29 hotels and resorts in Gulmarg, according to a list TOI had access to, are completely sold out for most of March, while some have 100% reservations until mid-April. The Khyber is full through the end of March, The Rosewood Hotel through April 10, The Vintage through April 13, and JKTDC Huts through most of March.
“The first snowfall in November this year brought ski enthusiasts and tourists here. Of course, continued restrictions on international flights have boosted tourism in Gulmarg, “says Chhabra.
“People who always had J&K on their wish list now come here as an opportunity presented itself. Additionally, mandatory Covid testing (at airports / train stations / interstate border) provides a psychological guarantee that no Covid-infected visitor will make it to tourist locations within the state, ”he added.
Most of the hotel and resort managers TOI spoke to were optimistic about the positive impact on the regular tourist season in Kashmir, which begins in May, and Pahalgam, Srinagar and Sonmarg are likely to witness good arrivals. “For the locals, a good tourist season means better income and more job opportunities,” said Eijaz Bhat, manager of Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) Huts in Gulmarg.
Bhat attributed the full reserves at Gulmarg to the conscious push given by the Center, as well as the J&K government under LG Manoj Sinha, to the resurgence of tourism in the Valley. For example, the Khelo India event was held at the ski resort last week, and the Prime Minister inaugurated it. He added that JKDTC has offered a 50% discount on its hotel rates throughout the Union Territory.
According to Farooq Ahmad of The Rosewood Hotel in Gulmarg, tourists from all income groups head straight to Gulmarg. “The thrill of witnessing a snowfall, the first for many, is the main attraction,” he said. “Even for those interested in skiing, Gulmarg is a much cheaper alternative to foreign resorts,” added Bhat.
Of course, celebrity arrivals to Gulmarg have helped. Bollywood actors Vidya Balan and Arbaaz Khan recently took a vacation in Gulmarg. The Khyber’s Chhabra revealed that she recently had to deny actress Sara Ali Khan a room reservation as the hotel was fully booked.

Times of India