Sonamarg to host ice skating this winter; tourism stakeholders overjoyed
Raja Syed Rather
Ganderbal, Dec 04 (KNO): For the first time, ice skating is set to commence in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, specifically in Sonamarg – The Golden Meadow.
Sonamarg, renowned for its scenic beauty, possesses significant tourism potential. In light of the consistent influx of tourists to this place in recent years, the government has initiated an ice skating course this winter.
Speaking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), local resident Sheikh Showkat expressed optimism, saying this endeavour by the administration presents a valuable opportunity for the tourism sector during the winter season.
“Previously, Sonamarg remained closed, but with this initiative, tourism and the market are expected to expand. The Yatri Nivas ground for ice skating is also close to the market, which will provide an economic advantage for tourists staying in proximity,” Showkat said.
Another local, Bashir Ahmed, said the news of ice skating starting this winter has filled the people of Sonamarg with joy. “This initiative will create employment opportunities for the youth through learning, guiding, forming ice skating clubs, and collaborating with the tourism department,” he said, adding that the move is a significant opportunity for tourists, locals and the market.
Speaking to KNO, a sportsperson Tabia Jan said it is an “excellent opportunity” for youth to learn a new game, acquire new skills, unleash their potential, excel in sports and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
With winter tourism and winter games, Sonamarg is poised to establish itself as a must-visit destination on the global tourism map. The success story of the tourism boom in ‘The Golden Meadow’ stands as a testament to the region’s natural beauty and the collaborative efforts of stakeholders promoting and sustaining tourism in this picturesque part of the Ganderbal district.
Chief Executive Officer of Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA), Ilyas Ahmed, said, “We have devised a basic programme using our resources, and we aim to involve more locals in ice skating.”
“As this is happening for the first time, we plan to include approximately 15 participants in the basic course. Additionally, we intend to expand this initiative and involve local stakeholders in it.”—(KNO)