As temperatures drop, tourist companies see their earnings rise, thanks to those headed for the ‘white sky’.
Recent snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Uttarakhand is attracting newlywed couples, families and singles from Delhi and other areas, all hoping to enjoy the sudden cold spell.
Tourist offices, data collectors, and those who organize hiking on the Himalayan slopes admit that their cash registers ring constantly.
Manmeet Ahluwalia, Expedia’s marketing head in India, said: “As it snows, we see a sudden increase in bookings for various destinations as northern India turns into a winter wonderland.”
Shimla: Tourists enjoy the weather after a fresh snowfall at the Mahasu peak in Kufri
He added: “With snowfall flooding J&K, Uttarakhand and HP, questions for destinations like Gulmarg, Manali, Keylong, Auli, Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Kinnaur and Dharamsala have risen 35 percent, and longer weekends are around the corner before Christmas we expect this number to rise further. ‘
Manmeet said his company received the most interest from young couples and singles.
But with winter vacations starting next week, the number of inquiries and booking for families is also expected to increase.
The Kashmir region shivered in intense cold conditions, and the Gulmarg ski resort recorded the coldest December night in a decade at minus 10 degrees Celsius on Thursday.
Nighttime temperatures dropped over most of the Kashmir division. Kargil was the coldest place in J&K with minus 10.2 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Qazigund in the south of Kashmir settled at minus 1.8 degrees, while the city of Kokernag recorded a minimum of minus 3.4 degrees.
Patnitop: Tourists walk on a snowy path at Nathatop near Patnitop, about 135 km from Jammu
After most parts of the state were covered in heavy snow with white crystals, conditions have also increased the prospects for winter sports.
With the Kailash Mountains – Asha Pati, Seoj Dhar, Chattar Gali, Goldanda, Jaie and Hanga in Bhaderwah – receiving snow, hoteliers and people associated with the tourism industry are optimistic that tourists will arrive in large numbers.
Tariq Choudhary, president of Tours and Travel Association, Bhaderwah, said, “Tourists have already started pouring in from Mumbai, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bangalore and Delhi. We hope that tourists will gather in large numbers this season.
“We had moderate snowfall, which is good for the tourism industry. Tourists can enjoy the snow and travel easily to snow-covered high altitude destinations. ‘
Last year, the tourism industry suffered a blow, thanks to a scant winter and very little snow, which meant a huge economic loss for a conflict-ridden state like J&K.
Uttarakhand and Himachal also largely depend on the influx of tourists.
Anticipating the arrival of a large number of tourists during the winter season, the authorities in Shimla warned the administration in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh as well as taxi and tour operators to inform tourists of safety measures when traveling to the capital of Himachal.
In a snow advisory for visitors, especially from Punjab and Haryana, the Deputy Commissioner asked them to hire trained drivers, wear blankets, and avoid taking babies and the elderly with them.
The authorities said that the advice, which is prepared each year prior to the winter season, has been sent to all deputy commissioners.