August 28, 2018 Off By Web Desk

Famous for lush green valleys, waterfalls and mountaineering tourism, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is all set to take a leading role in materialising the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to make the country a hub of tourism.

Tourism, which was the most neglected sector prior to 2013, had witnessed massive turnaround in the administration of the last government of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where record number of projects and schemes were completed besides significant increase in the development budget for tourism sector.

Before the PTI government in KP, tourism was kept at the 30th position in the priority list of public sector departments and corporations in terms of funding and currently it is at the 8th position, reflecting the government’s priority for the sector, Sajjad Hameed, General Manger, Tourism Corporation KP (TCKP) told Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

The KP’s annual development program (ADP) for tourism, which was only Rs311.204 million in 2013-14, had jumped to record Rs811.772 million in 2017-18 and resultantly scores of mega projects were completed in the period, giving enormous boost to tourism in KP .

The previous PTI Govt had laid a strong foundation to make KP a hub of tourism as envisioned by Prime Minister Imran Khan and TCKP would follow the policies of the newly elected PTI Government in letter and spirit, Sajjad Hameed said.

Chairlift at the hill station of Malam Jabba, which was totally destroyed during militancy in 2008-09 has been reconstructed and opened for tourists.

“The newly reconstructed chairlift has been imported and is safe in all aspect…construction work on a four star hotel adjacent to the chairlift has entered final stage and would be opened for tourists in the upcoming summer season with all modern facilities,” he said.

Under Beautification Projects at Kalam, Naran and Galayat, a flagship project of PTI Government, the conditions of access roads in these scenic towns have been improved to promote tourism.

Other improvements include the establishment of more camping pods at Thandyani in Abbottabad, Shahikh Badeen in DI Khan, Shahran in Manshera, Bishigram in Swat and Yakhtangi in Shangla, all aimed at expanding tourism while reducing load on established tourists resorts in the province.

To create awareness about Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage, architecture and civilisation, Sajjad Hameed said TCKP has also participated in several tourism events in the last five years.

A network of tourists information centres have been also setup near Peshawar Museum, Jalababa Abbottabad, Chitral and Landaki in Swat to guide and facilitate tourists in these scenic regions.

Sajjad Hameed said the region’s rest houses, private tour operators, hotels, motels and guest houses had received record booking orders from foreign and domestic tourists this year compared with last year.