For the first time in 70 years, three places in Kashmir that used to be shut down due to snow - Sonmarg, Karnah and Gurez - will remain open for tourists in the winter months.
The government is planning to include adventure sports and other activities in these areas to attract visitors. The new ski slopes are likely to be developed in snow-bound areas.
While Gulmarg has always attracted tourists during winter. Doodhpathri in Central Kashmir's Budgam district is the latest addition to the list as both these destinations can be reached by road.
There are also talks of introducing helicopter services to snow-bound areas in Jammu and Kashmir. Under the propoal of "Naya Jammu and Kashmir", tourism is no longer a seasonal activity. It is headed towards becoming an all-weather industry with the concept of winter tourism gaining traction.
Gurez is snow-free from June to September. It offers tourists an amazing journey through the Greater Himalaya, and the opportunity to explore the culture of the Shina-speaking Dards. The Dards, one of Kashmir’s oldest tribal peoples, were cut off from their compatriots in Astore, Gilgit and Chilas by the LoC. Today, the endangered Shina language is spoken exclusively in these valleys, in parts of Baltistan, Gilgit and in Drass in Ladakh’s Kargil District.
Gurez is also an adventure tourism destination, with J&K tourism promoting trekking, camping and fishing in the Kishanganga Valley.