‘Need to encourage adventure tour operators on commercial lines’

‘Need to encourage adventure tour operators on commercial lines’
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ATOAK, JKSMA welcome Farooq Abdullah’s statement on adventure potential in Sonmarg

SRINAGAR: In a joint meeting of the Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK) and J&K Ski and Mountaineering Association (JKSMA), the members welcomed the statement by Farooq Abdullah, MP in the ongoing session of Indian Parliament regarding possibilities of adventure sports at famous hill station of Sonamarg. It is for the first time that any MP has debated on the potential of adventure tourism in Kashmir.
Sonamarg is a unique adventure tourism destination which offers great adventures in all forms and in all seasons of the year. It has tremendous potential for orienteering, climbing, trekking, MTB, white water rafting, tubing and kayaking, aero sports and snow sports, etc. One could simultaneously undertake all sorts of adventure sports – territorial aero or aquatic, an official statement read.
President ATOAK, Rauf Tramboo told that before India’s independence, the Royal Air Force had set up an adventure institute here and the British officers were trained to mountain climbing. He said, “The snow remains in good condition for longer period and we have challenging rock faces and cliffs here for rock climbing sport. The Thajiwas glaciers and peaks offer great ice crafting, ski-climbing and snow para gliding.”
Sonamarg is a base for famous great lakes trek which goes around famous Mount Harmukh, Rauf further said that there was a need to encourage the adventure tour operators and to make it easy for them to operate adventure on commercial lines. It would generate huge employment for local youth.
Last year some adventure tour operators conducted many adventure camps successfully for the children of some schools.
President JKSMA, Mohammad Yusuf informed that in order to promote winter sports here they conducted snow festivals a number of times “but the government did not supplement and support our efforts and the destination remained ignored every time”. He further informed that Kashmir University, JKSMA, JKMHC and J&K youth services and sports were holding rock-climbing courses regularly here at Sonamarg till recent years, the handout added.