Current Pakistani premiere Imran Khan takes up important measures to make tourism a proper industry in Pakistan and revives its lost charm. Pakistan is one of the richest countries as far as tourist attractions are concerned.
In north, it starts from the roof top of the world and has a junction of world’s three highest mountain ranges that are Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalayas. Pakistan is home to 108 top peaks over 7000 meters and 5 of highest mountains out of 14 in the world over 8000 meters. And from there, a scenic journey of beauty takes you through green fertile lands, deserts and mesmerizing beaches of Baluchistan.
However, Pakistan has never realized its potential of tourism and never focused over tourist’s facilitation. It still was hotspot of adventure tourism but after 9/11 things changed altogether. A spike in terrorism and insurgency at Western border lands caused a catastrophe for whatever of tourism was happening in Pakistan. There were strict regulations over foreign tourists from Pakistan and from their home country as well, limiting their area to wander.
They were supposed to report at police stations in every town they visited. Western provinces of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) were almost out of bound for foreign tourists. They were escorted by Police while they traveled. In such scenario of movement control, they didn’t enjoy their stay and this created a sense of insecurity that took the feelings of wanderer and joy out.
Moreover, government never paid special attention over the tourist’s facilitation in terms of information, travel and stay. Road networks to all those areas which attracted tourists weren’t cozy enough, hotels and resorts lacked basic amnesties mostly and this all was a big hurdle to attract tourists specially foreigners. However, locals’ hospitable nature tried utmost to compensate as locals are very friendly and they host happily tourists as personal guests. Unlike other countries, foreigner tourists get most of the things free, local restaurants don’t charge them for food and they get discounted travel.
Things started to change in 2013 and 2014. Pakistan’s successful fight with insurgents and terrorism was controlled. In the meanwhile, a vast network of road and bridges were laid across country especially in the northern areas. However, after Imran Khan becoming prime minister of Pakistan, he took tourism very seriously and started working over the missing link that was tourist’s facilitation. Information centers were created, a special police department is raised to look after their security. Government has opened a large number of state run resorts and hotels. They have also welcomed foreign investment in these sectors.
In recent years, Pakistan has observed 100% increase in its foreign tourists but yet Pakistan has to claim that lost treasure knowing that it’s a thing of gold yet to be explored.