Attract families for winter sports in Valley: Shah
Soon after taking over the charge as Secretary Tourism, Farooq A Shah called a high level meeting to discuss ways and means to promote and organize winter games in Kashmir in the upcoming winter season.
The meeting was attended by veterans in winter sports, officials of tourism department and Winter Games Association of J&K on Sunday at Civil Secretariat.
Shah said Gulmarg has become a premier ski resort in the Himalayas and many athletes throng the place during winter.
He, however, stressed on the need to attract families for pursuing the winter sports as is done in European countries.
He emphasized on carrying out extensive marketing and publicity of the resort in the country and abroad.
Shah said that Gulmarg is a winter destination but summer is bonus for it.
“We have now many attractions at Gulmarg like Gondola and Chairlift at Kongdori etc. besides its natural beauty and we need to exploit its potential fully. We need to develop other destinations like Patnitop, Pahalgam, Yousmarg and Dudhpathri etc. as winter tourism destinations. Ski courses and other winter sports programs will be held at Patnitop and all other destinations.”
The meeting was called with the intention to make timely preparations for winter tourism.
The concerned stakeholders were advised to gear up for the big events.
The meeting was informed that number of skiers is expected to undertake heli-Skiing, snowboarding, ski touring and alpine skiing during winter.
The New Year celebrations would also be held in the Last week of December.
Further, it was decided that the drag lifts would be looked after by Tourism Department while JK State Cable Car Corporation would maintain the snow beating machines.
During the meeting, GDA was advised to repair its infrastructure including Ice-Skating rink for ice skating events. It was also decided to hire the services of a snow safety officer.
Shah stressed on the need of leveling the ski slopes at Kongdori where International FIS races could be conducted in near future. Besides, it was decided that in addition to local championships the state would host the 6th National Winter Games for which possibilities are being find out.
Among others the Special Secretary Tourism, Dy Director Tourism, CEO GDA/Managing Director JKSCCC, General Manager JKSCCC BD Jamali, Manager JKSCCC Reyaz Malik, ATOs Gulmarg GM Dar and Recreation Wing Naseer Mir, Adventure Tourism Columnist Muhammad Yusuf and Vice-President WGFI Shabir Wani, were present in the meeting.