The Ski-resort Gulmarg though witnessed tourists on the eve of New Year celebrations, but the less snow in the meadows dampened the spirit of celebrations. While hotels had dished out discounts on lodging and dinning, and tourism department had organized events to attract tourists, yet the visitors left with dejection. “We had come from Kolkatta to celebrate the eve with our children. There were a number of good entertaining programs, but the snow was of few inches high. We are leaving with echoes of mundane music, but not with the awesomeness of playing and enjoying on snow,” said Nitish Ganguly, who had come with his family to celebrate Several hotels like Grand Mumtaz Resorts attracted huge visitors on the eve on Thursday. The hotel which remained fully booked with domestic and foreigners wore festive look and remained abuzz with local tourists turning up to the venue to celebrate New Year. On the occasion the hotel management had offered gala dinner for in-house guests and other tourists on special rates. The tourists enjoyed live music show. General Manager, Grand Mumtaz Resorts Gulmarg, Mohsin Bhat, said that hotel remained abuzz with the tourists and was fully sold ahead of the New Year festival. He said that tourist response was satisfactory as compared to the previous years. “Not only domestic tourists but also foreigners too had booked the accommodations in advance to celebrate the New Year – 2016 at Grand Mumtaz,” said Mohsin Bhat. He said that besides special offers on room accommodation Grand Mumtaz had also offered special discounts on the dinner to the tourists. On the occasion a lucky draw was held at 12 o’clock and winner of the draw was gifted a “one night stay” at hotel Grand Mumtaz Resorts in Pahalgam. “I really feel elated to have chosen this property in Gulmarg on this New Year occasion. Kashmir which is known for hospitality was reflected in the services offered by this property,” said a tourist from Mumbai. Opposition by separatists forced many sponsors of music events to back out, and impacted the programs of some organizers. It dissuaded the domestic tourists from going to the ski-resort and these controversial events. But snow was all that was in the mind of the tourists who had come from outside the state. The tourists also hailed the role of tourism authorities and local police for the smooth conduct of the even all through the night. “Unlike, previous years when some untoward incidents like scuffle and brawls would erupt among young revelers, this year nothing such happened. Police really did best job. Not a single tourist complained to the police about fleecing or any other complaint,” said local sledge operators.
2015 Kashmir Despatch