With tourists flocking famous ski resort Gulmarg in droves, the department of tourism Kashmir this year celebrated New Year at Pahalgam to promote the destination for winter tourism.Pahalgam, which primarily is a summer destination, receives lesser tourist footfall in winter months as compared to Gulmarg which remains packed. However, for past few years, the department is promoting Pahalgam as winter destination through various sport activities.The department kick-started the New Year celebration by organizing first ever snow half marathon at Pahalgam, ice-climbing events and All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) ride show.Director tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah flagged off the race at Pahalgam Club which passed to Aru and culminated back at the starting point to compete 21 kilometres.The snow-marathon, which brought Pahalgam alive, is first of its kind half marathon organized under sub-zero temperatures to promote the destination and also keep local youth engaged.The department also organized ice-climbing at Pahalgam in which scores of the trained mountain climbers participated and hiked the cliff.Later in the evening, the department organized cultural and musical events at Pahalgam Club which entertained both locals and the tourists. The audience at the jam packed hall burst and cheered at every musical note and applauded the artist for their live performances.
Among the audience were many tourists who also enjoyed the cultural show. In the evening, the club was illuminated perfectly while the hoteliers also illuminated their properties giving the resort a festive look.Speaking on the occasion, Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah said the Gulmarg is receiving good number of tourists during winter months while as other destinations receive lesser footfall which needs to be promoted for winter months also. “We celebrated New Year at Pahalgam so that this resort is also made popular for winter months. Pahalgam is also receiving good snowfall besides has potential for winter adventure sports activities,” he said.Last year also, the department organized skiing courses at Pahalgam which received good response from sports lovers from across the country.Director Tourism said the department is also promoting the destination for ice-climbing. “We organized ice-climbing events which is a huge attraction for foreigners,” he said.VC JKTDC Rafi Mir also joined the musical event in the evening. Among others who were present include Deputy Director Tourism Riyaz Beigh and Peerzada Zahoor, General Manager JKTDC Tabasum Kamli, CEO Pahalgam Development Authority Mushtaq Simnani, SDM Pahalgam Mohammad Ashraf, Assistant Director Tourism Pahalgam Bilal Mir, Managar Pahalgam Club Majeed Qureshi, President of Pahalgam Hoteliers Club Imaad Rafi.