The Jammu and Kashmir government has finally started aerial safari ride for tourists in Srinagar and has also started a helicopter service to Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg from Srinagar to bring winter tourism back on track after last year’s devastating flood.
Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Director Tourism, Kashmir Tourist Reception Centre, told The Sunday Guardian that tourists will be charged Rs 6,000 for the 15-minute aerial safari ride over the Dal Lake and Mughal Gardens in Srinagar. “We have also decided to start the helicopter service to Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg in the winter season so that more tourists come here to enjoy the snow,” he said. A team has already been sent to Austria to promote Gulmarg as a destination for heli-skiing to get high-end tourists, he said. “We are in touch with many European tourists who have shown interest in heli-skiing and we expect tourism this winter to pick up especially with the start of Christmas parties at places like Gulmarg,” Shah said, adding that an aggressive marketing campaign would be launched soon to woo back tourists to Kashmir Valley. “We will organise road shows in different cities of the country and participate in all the travel marts, including the upcoming ones in Pune, Jaipur and Hyderabad,” he said.
This week, a single group of around 1,300 tourists from Rajasthan arrived here. This group had earlier visited many states for temple darshan.