GULMARG – Secretary, Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez today visited Gulmarg where he inaugurated the pre-paid counter for pony service started by the Tourism Department.
This is the second pre-paid counter for pony services started by the Department after Pahalgam last week.
The Secretary, Tourism formally handed over the first pre-paid slip to a tourist Tahura in presence of representatives of various Departments and local stakeholders.
Under the prepaid service, tourists can book a pony ride at a designated spot (near TRC, Gulmarg) and get a pony ride booked on designated routes for the rates notified by the Department. The Department intends to launch the service in other tourist destinations of Kashmir as well.
Speaking on the occasion, the Tourism Secretary congratulated the local stakeholders for establishing a pre-paid counter for pony service hoping that with the establishment of this counter there remains no scope for any complaint of cheating or inconvenience.
Praising the local stakeholders for upholding the tradition of local hospitality, Sarmad Hafeez said there has been a demand from local stakeholders about establishment of such a counter and hoped that with this the tourists and visitors would have a hassle free pony ride free from any inconvenience and cheating.
Enumerating the steps taken by the Department, the Tourism Secretary said Gulmarg now has become an all season destination with the addition and betterment of attractions like improved skiing activities and games during winters, better road connectivity, power supply and sanitation and now with the addition of pre paid pony service tourists should have all the reason for a satisfactory stay at and visit to Gulmarg. He said added facilities are being thought of to let the resort maintain its international appeal.
Emphasizing on cleanliness and ensuring environment friendly tourism activities, the Tourism Secretary said that the Department would provide various stakeholders including youth from Eco Clubs, Pony wallahs, hoteliers and other service providers a common platform to take action at preserving the fragile ecology. He appealed to the tourism stakeholders of Gulmarg to come forward and be conscious of the environment and ensure cleanliness at the resort.
Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Dr G N Itoo, Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority, Ghulam Jeelani Zargar, senior officers of Tourism Department, Local Bodies besides representatives of local tourism stakeholders were present on the occasion.
Later, the Tourism Secretary took a detailed tour of the Gulmarg bowl. He impressed upon the local Tourism authorities to ask the local tourism unit holders to maintain sanitation around their properties and keep them in good condition. He also directed the allied Departments to keep their assets in good condition and not let any sore spot greet the tourists.
Sarmad Hafeez also reviewed the pace of works being undertaken by the Department besides functioning of the JKTDC and Cable Car Corporation at the world famous resort.
He directed installation of hoardings and signages at different spots across the destination for facilitation and convenience of the tourists. He also directed early completion of work on ski lift and homologation of ski slopes.
Later, a deputation of Pony associations met the Tourism Secretary and apprised him of their difficulties.