Tourism Industry Development in KPK during PTI Tenure. Over the past five years Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, during the term of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), tourist industry has massively increased. A total of 63 percent increase was recorded in Galiyat as a result of the Camping pod initiations by the provincial government.
The government in this wake initiated a number of projects to promote tourism, attracting tourists from both inside the country and internationally. These initiatives have been; providing basic facilities such as Camping Pods in Thandiani, Bishigram, Sharan and Kumrat, eliminating No-Objection Certificate (NOC), opening government rest houses for public, and basically creating an environment of better communication and accessibility.
While addressing the opening ceremony of Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial minister for Sports, Culture, Tourism and Museums, Mehmood Khan, said that was massive increase was made possible with the provincial government working closely with the private sector. Further, saying that tourism industry worldwide is the second biggest contributor to employment and earning with a turnover in billions of dollars.
Thus, because of the huge potential of the province in this department his government had made it their priority to developing this sector by preserving and protecting culture, heritage, traditions, history, environment, and wildlife.
The government set to develop tourist industry at the start of their government with set objectives and generous investments. KPK government allocated Rs. 3.1 billion in their 2017-18 budget. This gave the tourist industry a huge boost where more than 2.5 million tourists alone were recorded to have visited the northern areas during Eid-ul-Fitr.
Tourism Industry Development in KPK during PTI Tenure
A police squad, Police Tourism Squad, with special duties related to guiding and protecting tourists in Swat and Galiyat regions, were formed by the provincial government. Furthermore, Mansehra Police also set up a free tent village for visitors. Other facilitation by the provincial government also helped to encourage people to visit these beautiful regions such as; advertising in the nation’s leading newspapers calling for people to explore with images people can not ignore, and with easy accessibility and good roads. The bypass from Makool to Havelian helped tourist to reach the Galiyat region.
Opening of Government Rest Houses to Public:
This was a promise Imran Khan, chairman of the ruling party in the province, made even before forming their government in KPK. Hence, after a year of forming their government this promised was fulfilled, with that first year used for massive renovating these guest houses, spending millions on them in order to make it fit for tourists both nationally and internationally. Previously, used to cater elite guests and government officials these guest houses are very luxurious, however, the PTI government has made it accessible to the public in general. So now anyone can book a room at a very economical price, online.
Tourism industry worldwide is the second biggest contributor to #employment and earning with a turnover in billions of #dollars. Pakistan can equally get benefit from this industry & help the world to explore the beauty of Pakistan.
In order to launch the project Chief Minister KPK Pervez Khattak held a formal ceremony was held at Nathiagali’s famous Retreat House that is one of fifteen rest houses that were handed over by different government departments to Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP). In this ceremony a total of fifteen rest houses were opened to public by handing it over to TCKP included Inspection Bungalow, Police Rest house Nathiagali, Retreat House Nathiagali, Karnak House, Forest Rest House Thandiani, Vendia Cottage Nathiagali, Additional Cottage Nathiagali, Pine Rest House Nathiagali, Forest Rest house Barian, TCKP Rest House Thandiani, European Cottage 29, 30 & 1.
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Second phase of this includes hand-over of another batch of thirteen rest houses to TCKP. The revenue generated from these rest house will be spent on the development of the Galiyat region said chairman PTI Imran Khan at this ceremony, where he was the chief guest.
To fully utilize the province’s scenic beauty of high peaks, lush meadows, plateaus and dense pine forests, the PTI government decided to open “camping sites” across these beautiful sites. In these camping sites KPK government installed camping pods that are equipped with basic facilities such as electricity, water, family area, restroom and a kitchen amidst the wilderness.
These pods are wooden huts providing spacious, comfy and secure accommodation to groups; families and friends alike. Their proximity to nature provides a unique closeness to all things nature; chirping of birds, meandering creeks, solitude amongst nature.
This project is part of a bigger one namely the Camping Paradise. The concept behind is to encourage sustainable eco-tourism, where healthy outdoorsy activities are promoted with the idea of preserving and conserving the natural environment.
With this project the government tended to provide economic opportunities to the locals along with intending to provide local researchers and scientists to study ecology.
In the first phase of the project two site had been allocated to these pods. First lies at Sharan that is 2400 meters above sea level separated by a 16km road, only accessible by jeeps, from Paras (Manshera-Kaghan Road). This is an off site from the perspective of the main tourist routes but it possesses a lot of attraction to adventure lovers, as the valley is in its pristine state that offers dense pine forests, lush meadows and sparkly streams surrounded by snow capped peaks.
The second site for camping pods is situated at Thandiyani, 32 km away from Abbottabad city and 72 km from Murree. This site, apart from providing proximity to main cities, also offers pure environment and a lovely view of the Kunhar River along with the imagistic view of the snow clad mountain ranges of the Kashmir valley.
Elimination of No-Objection Certificate (NOC):
No-Objection Certificate, as indicated from its name, is an official permission for foreigners who plans to travel to certain part of Pakistan. In 2016 the KPK government withdrew this condition for visiting Swat, Chitral and other parts of the Malakand Division, declaring that this particular region was open and thus no more a restricted area. This declaration came through a letter from the the Home and Tribal Affairs Department, KPK, that was sent to the Secretary of Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Museums, Culture and Youth Affairs.
Thereby, indicating an improvement in the security situation of the regions.
Generally, term of the PTI government had been very promising for the tourist industry of KPK, with lavish investments into many projects promoting and prompting tourism.