On New Year, tourists throng Asia’s Switzerland

Fireworks lit the night sky as hordes of tourists flocked to this world famous ski resort braving sub-zero temperatures to usher in the New Year.

Updated: Jan 01, 2012, 15:31 PM IST

Gulmarg: Fireworks lit the night sky as
hordes of tourists flocked to this world famous ski resort
braving sub-zero temperatures to usher in the New Year.

As tourists danced with gay abandon to famous Bollywood
numbers and exchanged hugs at the stroke of midnight, the
unprecedented rush of visitors at this time of the year
brought smiles to the faces of tourism authorities and hotel
operators alike.

The tourist resort at an altitude of 8,000 feet, also
known as the Switzerland of Asia, had packed bookings with
tourists pouring in from across the country and foreign
destinations as well.

"I have never seen such a huge rush in Gulmarg and I wish
that this flow of tourists does not end ever. Such
developments augur well for the economy of families who are
engaged in providing sledges, skiing and sale of handicrafts,"
says Minister of State for Tourism Nasir Aslam.

Chief Executive of Gulmarg Development Authority Mehmood
Ahmed Shah said that all hotels were 100 per cent packed and
requests were still pouring in from various sections to
accommodate more and more people.

"My phone has not stopped ringing since morning as it
seems everyone wants to spend his new year in this exotic
tourist spot," Shah said.
The state tourism department had organised a cultural
evening with a small cracker show.
Private hotels in the area drew large number of tourists
and one could hear people singing and in a boisterous mood to
welcome 2012.

PTI