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Unprecedented Snow Shortage Casts Shadow on Kashmir Tourism

Famous Winter Destinations Experience Drastic Drop in Tourist Arrivals

In an unexpected turn of events, the picturesque landscapes of Kashmir are missing their usual winter charm as a distinct lack of snow disrupts the region’s renowned allure. This unforeseen phenomenon is not only altering the captivating scenery but is also dealing a significant blow to Kashmir’s thriving tourism sector, causing mass cancellations and postponements of travel plans.

The absence of the characteristic snowfall has led to widespread disappointment among tourists, who were hoping to witness the enchanting snow-covered vistas of Kashmir during this season.

KashThis unexpected turn of events is reshaping the traditional image of Kashmir as a winter wonderland for travellers and is causing a ripple effect throughout the region, impacting businesses associated with tourism.

Famed tourist destinations such as Pahalgam, Sonamarg, and the ski resort of Gulmarg are particularly affected by this snowless winter, where a hush prevails instead of the usual joyous echoes of tourists enjoying the natural beauty. According to tourism officials, there has been a drastic decline in tourist arrivals, mirroring the reduced snowfall in the region.

Gulmarg, known for being India’s most sought-after destination during this time, is now experiencing a significant void. Estimates suggest an 80 percent decline in adventure tourism enthusiasts and over a 50 per cent drop in leisure tourism enthusiasts. This marks a stark contrast to the bustling scenes witnessed in December 2023 when Gulmarg welcomed nearly 96,000 tourists, a narrative that has taken a downturn this year.

Hoteliers on the ground report a considerable drop in tourist arrivals, with an estimated 50 percent decrease compared to the previous year. The Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers Club,

Mushtaq Chaya, expressed growing concerns within the tourism sector, describing the current snowless scenario as a recurring nightmare. He emphasised that the absence of snow-capped mountains and slopes has resulted in a significant dip in tourist influx, estimated to be over 50 per cent.

Climate change is being cited as a contributing factor, as Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon, Chairman of the Houseboat Owners Association, pointed out that the impact of climate change is negatively affecting tourism. Tourists who typically visit Kashmir in winter for the experience of snowfall are expressing disappointment with the current situation.

Local hoteliers, such as Abdul Wahid Malik in Pahalgam, and industry associations, including the Travel Agents Association of Kashmir led by Rouf Tramboo, have echoed similar sentiments about the dwindling number of tourist arrivals. Adil Ahmad, President of the Jammu and Kashmir Hotel and Restaurants Association, noted a massive wave of cancellations and a drastic decline in tourist influx, raising concerns about the long-term impact on the region’s tourism industry if the snowless conditions persist.

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