Gulmarg: The Christmas Mass was held at St Mary’s Church in Gulmarg while Santa Claus distributed chocolates and sweets among the children as the Tourism Department ensured gala Christmas celebrations at ski resort Gulmarg.
The Tourism Department had made elaborate arrangements for making the festival grand lighting up lanterns and organizing cultural programmes.
Addressing the gathering of tourists, Secretary Tourism Sarmad Hafeez said the department was organising cultural events and adventure sports activities to entertain tourists and to engage locals.
Hafeez said skiing and snowboarding championships would also be held during the winter season.
He said special New Year celebrations were also being held at Pahalgam to promote Pahalgam also as a winter tourist destination that otherwise is considered to be a summer resort.
Hafeez said this year, a snow festival would also be held at Patnitop.
Director Tourism, Mahmood Ahmad Shah said Gulmarg, being a skiing destination, foreigners across the world come to visit the place.
“We are now stepping up tourism promotion by visiting many cities across the country too for tourism seminars, road shows,” he said.
Shah said the officials of the Tourism department would also attend travel and trade fairs to woo more tourists to Kashmir.
The department this week has lined up seminars at Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad in which leading travel agents from across the country and outside have been invited.
The department has already inaugurated skiing and other winter sports activities at Gulmarg.
Attending the Christmas celebrations in Gulmarg, Vice Chancellor Jammu Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation, Rafi Ahmad Mir said Gulmarg is one the highest skiing resorts in the world that not only offers skiers powdery slopes but is also a breathtaking place to visit for a tourist.
On Christmas, besides the hotel properties, the Cable Car ‘Gandola’ was also illuminated.