Though defying terrorist threats tourists from across the country are finding their way to the Valley to spend their vacations here, but the lack of snowfall in the Valley this season has snatched the charm of holidaying in Kashmir from these visitors.
Tourists who had come from other parts of the country to enjoy snowfall here are disappointed with the fact that it has snowed very little in the Valley this year and many could not even see the snow falling.
Anil Kumar, a resident of Mumbai, who along with his family has come to the Valley for the first time, says that he chose the winter season to visit the Valley so that he and his family could enjoy snowfall here.
"Despite terrorist threat we came to visit Kashmir, as my family wanted to see snowfall, but except Gulmarg there is no snow anywhere in the Valley." Anil Kumar said.
Adding he said, "But today the God have been so kind on us as it has been snowing here since early morning and now if it continues for some more time we may rethink over our plan of cutting short our stay here."
Scarcity of snowfall in the Valley had come as a bad omen for the people associated with tourism industry as many tourists were making their way to Shimla after cutting short their stay in the Valley.
But the news of today's fresh snowfall in Gulmarg has started a new rush amongst tourists to reach here.
Pardeep Sharma, who along with his wife was checking in Hotel Kingsley in Gulmarg said, "Just a day before we were planning to cut short our stay in the Valley and head towards Shimla, but in the morning the manager of the hotel in Srinagar told us that it was snowing in Gulmarg, so we packed our bags and moved towards Gulmarg."
The people associated with the tourism industry feel reprieved with the fresh snowfall, as their income is directly affected with the amount of snowfall in the Valley.
Manzoor Ahmed, a hotel owner at the tourist resort of Tangmarg said, "During the same season a year ago we experienced a heavy snowfall but this year there is a dearth of snowfall here and this scarcity of snow is affecting our businesses."
Adding he said, "The inflow of tourists was very much affected after the terrorists' attacks, but we protested and requested them not to do so as it affected our livelihood. But now snowfall is in the hands of Allah and we can do nothing about it." "Defiantly it is having a negative impact on our business," he said.
The tour operators in the Valley say that everyday they receive calls from outside the state enquiring about the amount of snowfall in the Valley.
Gulzar Ahmed of Kashmir tour services in Srinagar said, "the first thing they (tourists) inquire is the status of snow in the Valley. When they come to know that there is very little snow here they ask us to cancel their bookings and we know they head towards Shimla to enjoy snow there."
Adding he said, "But today as I came to know that it has been snowing in Gulmarg since morning, I am very happy. Fresh snowfall in the Valley would attract more tourists here. Our prayers have been answered."
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