Gurez, Sep 21: With an aim to promote winter tourism in Gurez valley of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the government is going to organize various winter activities including trekking expeditions, adventure camps and sports activities to woo tourists.
A senior tourism official said that these activities will be carried out in snowbound areas that have much tourism potential including Gurez, Bagtore, Tulail valley and in other feasible areas.
He also said that several film shootings to be held in the coming winter season in the Gurez valley which remains cut off and covered under heavy snow for more than five months during winters.
During winter season, the official said that snow could attract tourists to the picturesque location and increase footfall in the area while major efforts are on forefront to make the valley all-weather tourist destination.
Meanwhile, in a bid to attract tourists, the youths in Gurez valley are organising and promoting winter sports from years in the remote valley of Gurez.
The locals said that the place has the potential to become a hub for winter games, but there has been little help from the administration to make use of that. “Like every year we will continue our efforts this year also to make this valley a hub of tourism,” Mushtaq Ahmad, a local said, adding that the days are not far when this beautiful valley will become a tourist hub like Gulmarg in winter season.
Airf Ahmad, another local said that the government should keep the helicopter service open for tourists this year during the winter season which will further boost the tourism here. He further said that government should work on priority basic to make this valley another Gulmarg during winters.
Since the area remains disconnected for several months in winters, causing immense hardship to the people of the area. The locals demanded the construction of a tunnel between Bandipora and Gurez to maintain connectivity throughout the year.
Besides, the locals further appealed the government to lift ban on the international tourist which will not only help in promoting the valley further but will directly benefit the local community.
An official, however, said that the issue related to foreign tourists has been brought into the notice of the home ministry and it is hoped that they will make a positive decision very soon.
Notably, the picturesque Gurez valley recently had bagged the best offbeat destination award 2022 in India.