Srinagar: Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Sarmad Hafeez Saturday reviewed the arrangements put in place by the Tourism Department for winter season tourism and sports at various destinations across Kashmir Valley. He directed that all sports facilities and equipment at the winter destinations be kept in a state of readiness in view of the onset of the winter season.
Chairing a meeting of officers of Tourism and related Departments here Saturday, the Tourism Secretary suggested setting up of Ice Parks at Gulmarg and Sonamarg for which he directed consultations with J&K Cultural Academy and Institute of Music & Fine Arts, Srinagar. He directed the setting up of an additional ski hire shop, operationalisation of snow beating machines and ski lifts at Gulmarg at the earliest. For this, he directed taking all the steps required well in advance.
Sarmad Hafeez also reiterated the need for developing Sonamarg and Doodpathri as winter destinations in view of the heavy rush of tourists expected during winter months. In this regard, he directed exploring possibilities of introduction of various ski courses at these destinations by placing sufficient manpower, logistics etc at these places. He also directed the establishment of a ski shop and ski lift and identification of site for the natural Ice Skating Rink at Sonamarg for introducing winter sports at the resort.
The Tourism Secretary also suggested holding of various snow competitions at Doodpathri and developing logistics for the same. He also directed holding of festivals at lesser known tourist destinations during winter months.
Earlier, the Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Dr G N Itoo briefed the Tourism Secretary about the plans drawn by the Department for the coming winter season.
The meeting was attended by Managing Director, JKTDC, Syed Fakhruddin Hamid, MD, J&K Cable Car Corporation, Muhammad Akbar Wani; CEOs of Doodpathri, Sonamarg and Gulmarg Development Authorities, Deputy Directors of Recreation and Maintenance wings, Assistant Director Tourism, Gulmarg and other officers.