Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pakistan's $20 Billion Tourism Industry is Booming

Pakistan's tourism industry, currently estimated at $20 billion (6.9% of GDP in 2016), is booming, according to data available from multiple reliable sources. World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts it to grow to over $36 billion within a decade.

Economic Impact of Tourism:

Pakistan tourism industry generates $20 billion in revenue and supports 3.6 million jobs directly and indirectly, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Foreign visitors generate nearly a billion US$ in exports.

Economic Contribution of Pakistan Tourism. Source: WTTC

Tourism Growth: 

Significantly improved security situation has helped boost annual tourist arrivals in Pakistan by 300% since 2013 to 1.75 million in 2016, while domestic travelers increased 30% to 38.3 million, according to the state-owned Pakistan Tourism Development Corp.  Hotel bookings increased 80 percent in 2016, according to Jovago, Pakistan’s biggest hotel booking website.

Courtesy: Nikkei Asian Review

By contrast, foreign tourist arrivals in the country’s larger neighbor, India, jumped from 6.97 million in 2013 to 8.8 million in 2016, according to Indian government figures. 88% of India's and 92% of Pakistan's tourism revenue is domestic. India's tourism industry is worth $209 billion (9.6% of of GDP in 2016), according to WTTC.

A story in the Financial Times, a British newspaper, quotes British tour operator Jonny Bealby as saying,   “While I am sure this will raise some eyebrows, we are starting to see a marked increase in tourism to Pakistan".  Bealby's company arranged 55% more clients to Pakistan in 2017 compared with 2016, and advance bookings are more than 100 per cent up on this point 12 months ago, according to the Financial Times.

Top Adventure Tourism Destination: 

British Backpackers Society has recently ranked Pakistan as its top destination for adventure tourism.  The Society describes Pakistan “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination”.

Pakistan Tourism Promotion in Jakarata, Indonesia
Pakistan's northern areas are a top destination for adventure-seekers interested in mountain climbing, white water rafting,  extreme kayaking and helicopter skiing.

Pakistan Brand Promotion on London Buses

Pakistan Tourism Promotion: 

Pakistan government's tourism campaign — including covering buses in several major world cities with beautiful pictures of Pakistan's tourist attraction — have helped raise the country’s profile. Increased investments in roads, airports and other infrastructure have helped ease travel.

Pakistan government has announced its decision to provide 30 day tourist visa on arrival for visitors from 24 countries on three continents.


Tourism industry in Pakistan is booming with 300% increase in foreign tourist arrivals since 2013. It contributed $20 billion (6.9% of GDP in 2016) and supported 3.6 million jobs in 2016. World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts it to grow to over $36 billion within a decade.

Here's a video about Pakistan narrated by an American Journalist Cynthia Ritchie:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Travel and Tourism Boom

Extreme Kayak Adventures in Pakistan

Helicopter Skiing in Karakorams

Climbing K2: The Ultimate Challenge

Indian Visitors Share "Eye-Opening" Stories of Pakistan

American Tourist Picks Pakistan Among Top 10 Best Countries to Visit

Pakistani American to Pakistani Diaspora: Go Back and Visit Pakistan

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network


Tonto said...

Its just a start . For a scenic country like Pakistan $ 20 Billion is nothing, only one billion revenue from foreign tourist is shameful. What can be done is to develop the tourist sites to facilitate tourist, that includes development of infra structure , tourist safety and arranging events that would attract foreigners. 92 % of tourists were domestic clearly stating the fact that people's purchasing power has increased over last 3 to 4 years.

Government needs to work on this. I hope that development of major tourist resorts along the coastal highway near Gwadar can also help earn large sum of money. They should arrange major events near the Himalayas attracting millions of mountain lovers from across the globe.

Z Basha Jr said...

Timely article. with relaxed visa regime for foreign group' tourists it will only get better. Hope the agencies can take care of law and order as groups are always easy targets.Riaz are doing great service to the qaum. hope the agencies can recognize your efforts and include you in local think tanks.

Riaz Haq said...

A #British archaeologist named Hugh Trevor Lambrick, who was the Deputy Commissioner of #Larkana in 1940s, called (Shushangi) 'Toshangi' the #GrandCanyon of #Sindh . #Tourism #Pakistan on #Vimeo

A British archaeologist, author and civil servant named Hugh Trevor Lambrick, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Larkana in 1940s, called (Shushangi) 'Toshangi' the Grand Canyon of Sindh. It is one of the most dramatic places to visit in the Kirthars. The deep gorge (700ft deep) is formed by the waters of Kenjhi River which has been flowing in the area since time untold.
Salman Rashid, Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society traveled in 1996 to this place from Ghaibi Dero (Shahdadkot Sindh).
We a group of trekkers i.e. Aziz Ahmed Jamali, Abdul Qadir Jamali, Muhammad Yaqoob, Asad Mir, Aqeel Baig & Sufi reached here from Khuzdar Baluchistan side

Riaz Haq said...

5 airlines to venture into Pakistan
Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-29 20:13:38|Editor: Lifang

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Five national and international airlines have applied for regular public transport airline license of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to venture into the country's aviation industry, local reports said Monday.

The airlines are expected to get permission to carry out the flight operation in the country's skies during the next one year, which is likely to bring down passenger fares, local newspaper Express Tribune said.

Airlines including Askari Air, Air Siyal, Go Green, Liberty Air and Afeef Zara Airways have applied for the license to be a part of the aviation industry which is expected to be around 9 percent per annum and likely to keep the same pace till 2020, according to a forecast of the International Air Transport Association, a trade body of world's airlines.

Pakistan's air traffic has soared up to 40 percent over the past five years to 20 million passengers, and is continuously witnessing an upward trend due to improvement of law and order situation in the country, which is bringing in more tourists in the country.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has also resulted in the increase of air traffic in the country.

Most of the upcoming carriers will target low-profit, far-off destinations including Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Khuzdar, Dalbandin, Zhob, in Balochistan province where CPEC projects are in full swing, and the tourist destinations of Rawalakot, Skardu, Chitral, Gilgit, Bannu and Parachinar.

The destinations could generate immediate profits because of their tourism potential and work on CPEC projects.

For these remote regions, the new carriers will bring airplanes suitable for small airports.

The entry of new airlines in the country's airspace is expected to further increase challenges of the country's national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines, which was the sole operator in most of these routes in the past.

Riaz Haq said...

Adam N Weinstein

2h2 hours ago
More Adam N Weinstein Retweeted Govt of Pakistan
Relative to regional competitors for tourism #Pakistan has good urban infrastructure, historical sites within major cities, decent hospitals, good highways, & magnificent natural beauty within 2 hrs of major cities. Easy visas, int'l marketing, & more mid-level hotels would help.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan aims to revive glory of ancient Mughal city Lahore
March 1, 2018 by Khurram Shahzad

Perched on scaffolding, restoration experts chip away at decades of grime and repair broken mosaic tiles in a bid to save the colossal murals depicting historic battles and regal ceremonies on the walls of Lahore fort.

The painstaking work is part of efforts to preserve Lahore's crumbling architectural history as officials juggle conserving its diverse heritage with building modern infrastructure in Pakistan's chaotic second city.

The metropolis, which once served as the capital of the Mughal empire that stretched across much of the subcontinent, has been subsumed into a myriad of civilizations across the centuries.

This rich past is most visible in the milieu of architecture salted across the Walled City of Lahore—from Hindu temples and Mughal forts to Sikh gurdwaras and administrative office built during the Raj.

"You get a history of a thousand years, 500 year-old houses and monuments and mosques, shrines and a very peaceful atmosphere," says Kamran Lashari, director general of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA).

Prime among them, and dating back to the 11th century, the Lahore fort was first built of mud and was then later reinforced with stone over the centuries by a long cast of Mughal emperors who oversaw its expansion and the accompanying artwork.

But periods of conflict along with searing heat, monsoon rains and years of neglect have taken a toll on the fort.

Despite the onset of decay, experts suggest the city's vast Islamic architectural heritage could make it a contender to rival more established Silk Road travel destinations.

"Lahore can easily compete with Samarkand. It nearly matches Ispahan," says Sophie Makariou, president of the Parisian-based National Museum of Asian Arts.

Makariou adds that its failure to shine is more to do with safety concerns that have plagued the nation after multiple attacks.

"Due to the bad reputation of Pakistan, it remains unknown," she explains.

Pearl of the Punjab

But as security across Pakistan continues to improve, officials are hoping to revive Lahore's lost glory.

More than 40 conservationists with the the WCLA—including engineers, architects and ceramists from across the globe—are currently working on restoring the mosaic mural on the fort's exterior.

"It's one of the largest murals in the world. It contains over 600 tile mosaic panels and frescos," says Emaan Sheikh from the Agha Khan Trust for Culture.

Restoration of the mural is just part of a larger project to refurbish the fort, which includes conservation projects in the royal kitchen, the summer palace and a basement, according to WCLA's director general Kamran Lashari.

Similar work by the WCLA has already been done to revamp the artwork at the historic Wazir Khan mosque and the Shahi Hammam—one of the only surviving Turkish Baths in the subcontinent that is approximately 400 years old.

The city's famed Delhi Gate, which once hosted extravagant Mughal processions arriving in Lahore from the east, has also been fully restored along with dozens of homes in the Walled City.

Many of those involved in the project are optimistic.

"The cities which are most famous for tourism, you can take London, Madrid, Istanbul, Rome, all the prerequisites which are available in those cities, are available in Lahore," claims Ahmer Malik, head of Punjab's tourism corporation, referring to Lahore's architectural and cultural attractions.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's crumbling architectural heritage
Syed Raza Hassan

Pakistan (Reuters) - When British colonial rulers hastily left South Asia at Pakistan’s painful birth in 1947, the ensuing chaos and violence meant little attention was paid to the architecture they built or influenced in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi.

More than 70 years later, architectural gems have been torn down and many are either crumbling or under threat from real estate developers in Pakistan’s commercial capital which is mushrooming into a mega-city.

The structures, weathered by the salty air, open the door to Karachi’s colonial scars, researchers say, pointing out that many of the original owners were among millions of Muslim and Hindu refugees who fled their homes amid communal and religious violence that accompanied the end of British rule in India in 1947 and the creation of Pakistan.

”Every brick of the heritage building narrates a story of those who left in 1947,“ said Akthar Baloch, a researcher who has written several books on Karachi’s heritage. ”They built them with love and affection.

"When people like me feel bad looking at the neglect of these heritage sites, one wonders how the families of the owners must feel if they ever visit Karachi." (Click for a picture package of Karachi's crumbling heritage buildings)

Karachi’s population has skyrocketed to nearly 17 million people in 2017 from an estimated 400,000 at independence, and every inch of the city has become a valuable commodity for developers building homes or drafting plans to alter the city’s skyline with new skyscrapers.

Jahangir Kothari Parade promenade, once an imposing British heritage site, is now obscured by a maze of overpasses and the shadow of Pakistan’s tallest building.

The promenade is part of a handful of buildings, along with the colonial-era Imperial Customs House, which have been restored to their former grandeur, but such projects are rare when the focus is on tearing down old and building new.

Rapid urbanization has ensured large-scale destruction, particularly in the old city areas, where more profitable multi-story residential buildings have sprung up.

But amid the new concrete, remnants of the colonial legacy can still be seen, often recognizable by their state of neglect.

The Saddar neighborhood of Karachi has perhaps the largest concentration of British architectural history, while in the city’s eastern district, the iconic old colonial jail has been declared a heritage site by Sindh province’s antiquities department.

So far more than 1,700 premises have been listed as heritage sites by the antiquities department and the process continues.

The Sindh Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, introduced in 1994, has helped provide legal protection for structures of historical significance. But courts are also busy with cases of developers trying to circumvent such protection.

Riaz Haq said...

Over 92,000 foreigners visit Pakistan since launch of CPEC

Since the start of ground work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship multi-billion dollar project of “One Belt and One Road Initiative," more than 39,000 Chinese came to Pakistan in past five years.

More than 92,204 visas were issued by the government of Pakistan to foreign nationals in an apparent effort to expand foreign investment, business opportunities and tourism in the country during this period. Over 120 Pakistani missions abroad issued 29,622 visas to foreign nationals in 2013, 10,267 visas in 2014, 22,932 visas in 2015, 13,456 visas in 2016 and over 15,927 foreign nationals came to Pakistan in 2017, revealed official data/documents Geo News has had exclusive access to.

As many as 7,859 Chinese were issued visas in 2013, the starting period for the CPEC projects soon after the incumbent government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came into power. Following this development, Pakistani missions in China issued over 7,859 visas to Chinese citizens in 2013, 69 visas in 2014, 13,268 visas in 2015, 6,268 visas in 2016 and according to informed officials at Ministry of Foreign Affairs that estimated 12,287 visas were issued to Chinese nationals by the authorities last year.

In addition to it, officials revealed to this correspondent that about 91,000 Chinese nationals visited Pakistan on tourist visas in past five years. Some 27,596 visa extensions were also granted to Chinese on recommendations of ministries of interior, foreign affairs, water and power and planning and development, a 34 percent increase as compare to 2015-16, added the officials. This frequent flow of foreign nationals encouraged foreign direct investment (FDI) which jumped 163 percent to $222.6 million in July 2017 on a year-on-year basis, revealed official data collected from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The main contributor to this foreign net inflows has been China, which is investing around $60 billion under the CPEC's initiative. Pakistan received $2.4 billion in 2016-17, highest since the PML-N government took the charge of the state’s economic affairs while FDI remained $1.45 billion in previous PPP regime.

The government under Prime Minister Youth Programme also trained over 110,000 youth, majority of them as the authorities claimed, would be associated with CPEC projects in coming years.

For security of these Chinese workers, the government of Pakistan has also deputed an estimated 37,000 security personnel to guard Chinese workers engaged in some 22 projects directly associated with the CPEC and 214 other small and mega projects in Pakistan. For this purpose, the government has deployed 15,780 military personnel trained under umbrella of the Special Security Division (SSD) and the Maritime Security Force (MSF). Balochistan would get more security, as a few wings (450 personnel) of the MSF for coastal area, six wings (6,700 personnel) of the Frontier Corps, 3,210 police constables and 1,320 Levies personnel would guard all the routes. More than 4,200 policemen, 1,290 Rangers, 5,500 private security guards and 740 Askari Guards would protect various projects linked to the economic corridor in Punjab.

Official data continued to reveal that Pakistan issued visas to 1,505 Australian nationals in 2013, 549 visas to Germans in 2013 and 575 visas were issued to German nationals in 2017. The Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi also issued over a thousand visas to Indian nationals in 2013 and 584 Indians were given Pakistani visas in 2015. As many as 786 Iranians were issued visas in 2013 and 945 visas were issued by Pakistani missions in Iran in 2016.

TESTTEST said...

You didn't mention the beautiful Naltar Valley any where? Naltar is very beautiful area of pakistan and I highly recommend everyone to visit the place

Riaz Haq said...

‘Emerging #Pakistan’ brand buses hit #Berlin's roads on #IndependenceDay2018, showing beauty of Pakistan with its highest peaks, majestic landscape, Made in Pakistan FIFA Football, magnificent architecture and vibrant and diverse culture. #Tourism

Berlin's iconic yellow buses are carrying brand Pakistan on the streets of the city on nation's 72nd Independence Day.

This branding campaign is running under the theme of 'Emerging Pakistan'.

The initiative is a part of celebrations planned by the Embassy of Pakistan in Berlin for the 71st Independence Anniversary of Pakistan this year

Berlin caters to hundreds of tourists, especially during the summertime, who will get to see these buses daily. For a brief time, many Berliners will see these buses portraying the diversity and beauty of Pakistan.

Speaking to this correspondent, Jauhar Saleem, Pakistan's Ambassador to Germany said, "We are endeavouring to showcase beautiful Pakistan, perhaps the best-kept secret in the world of tourism."

These special buses showcase the natural beauty of Pakistan with its highest peaks, majestic landscape, Made in Pakistan Football used for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, monuments representing ancient civilisation, magnificent architecture and vibrant and diverse culture.

The banners on buses aim to attract foreign tourists to the wonderful land of Pakistan, for many that still remains unexplored.

Although for many Germans and Europeans, in particular, northern areas of Pakistan offer a mesmerizing adventure, an ancient Indus civilisation of Moen-Jo-Daro have always fascinated German archaeologists and researchers. Also, the culture and the ethnic richness of Pakistan is appreciated all over Europe.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to host ice #skating, ice #hockey competition for the first time. Alongside PAF Naltar, Malam Jabba #Ski Resort would host #snowboarding National Ski Championship, Malam Jabba Ski Cup and CAS International Karakoram Alpine Ski Cup #wintersport

The picturesque winter resort of Naltar in Gilgit Baltistan and the enchanting ski slopes of Malam Jabba in Swat brace for some exhilarating winter sports in the coming days.

The Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan (WSFP) has chalked out an elaborate calendar of events for the season. The winter sports season has already commenced at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Naltar with Sadia Khan & Children Ski Cup this week. Besides, snowboarding and ice skating, ice hockey competitions would also be held there for the first time in the country.

Other than these, Shah Khan Ski Cup and Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Championship would be held. This year, inter-varsity championship for men and women have also been planned to promote winter sport in the educational institutions of the country. Alongside PAF Naltar, Malam Jabba Ski Resort would host National Ski Championship, Malam Jabba Ski Cup and CAS International Karakoram Alpine Ski Cup. WSFP has chosen the recently developed Rattu Ski Resort to host two events this year, including inter services ski cup and National cross country ski cup.

Prominent international skiers from across the world are arriving to participate in different ski racing categories. Besides international athletes, top level national skiers would take part in these races to showcase their talents in this exciting sport. Competing with the famous skiers of the world would provide an excellent opportunity to Pakistani athletes to learn from their competitors and improve their standing in the world rankings.

WSFP has also procured a snow-making machine to make it less dependent on snowfall in the area. With the installation of new tow-lift and the induction of Snow-Making machine, the winter sports enthusiasts would be able to enjoy a prolonged season this year.

Riaz Haq said...

G-B hosts first-ever #icehockey match in #Pakistan. Pakistan’s first-ever ice hockey match was played on Saturday as snow sports season kicked off in the scenic winter resort of Naltar in #GilgitBaltistan. #wintersport #Tourism #skiing

The match was played between the teams of Pakistan Air Force and G-B Scouts. Players from both sides showed some extraordinary skills but no team could score a goal within the stipulated time.

The fate of the match was decided on penalty shoot-outs, in which Shahsyar scored the only goal of the match, paving way for a PAF win.

The history of ice hockey in Gilgit-Baltistan region could be related to a local game, called ‘Ghatal’, which is also played with two sticks and a ball. To continue the legacy of this traditional game, ice hockey has been introduced in the region.

Earlier, the Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan (WSFP) chalked out an elaborated calendar of events for the 2018-19 season, according to a PAF spokesperson.

In a statement, he said the winter sports season has already commenced at PAF Naltar with Sadia Khan and Children Ski Cup this week. Besides snowboarding and ice skating, ice hockey competitions will also be held at the venue for the first time in Pakistan.

To continue the legacy of this traditional game, ice hockey has been introduced in the region.

Earlier, the Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan (WSFP) chalked out an elaborated calendar of events for the 2018-19 season, according to a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) spokesperson in a statement issued in Islamabad on Friday.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's Kund Malir in #Balochistan featured among top 50 #Asian #beaches. This beautiful and untouched shoreline rests between the #desert, #mountain and #sea, making for some breathtaking views at the bottom edge of Hingol National Park. #Tourism

KARACHI: With its scenic view, Pakistan 's Kund Malir beach is one of the most exotic beaches and definitely one of the top tourist attractions in the country.

Kund Malir beach now among Asia’s Top 50 Beaches. This extremely beautiful and untouched shoreline rests between the desert, mountain and sea, making for some breathtaking views at the bottom edge of Hingol National Park.

This golden beach, with its unparalleled serenity and so much more, is a must-see destination Pakistan. Venture off the coastal highway to relax on the smooth sands by the Arabian Sea.

This exceptional, natural marvel of the world is where the water meets a desert. It is an attractive desert beach with palm trees on the coastline. As this place has gained popularity recently by featuring into the top 50 beaches of Asia, Kund Malir is a clean beach with crystal clear, shimmering water.

The FlightNetwork’s most in-depth list of Asian beaches provides a complete look into the stunning shores of Asia – a continent with countless countries rimmed by aquatic wonders so extraordinary travelers must see to believe.

The Asia’s Top 50 Beaches list was prepared by collecting the insider knowledge of over 600 journalists, editors, bloggers, and agencies, who have made travel their life. The resulting expert guidance ensured the list of Asian beaches offers those that have a taste for adventure, balanced by ultimate relaxation, all the needed insight to plan an unforgettable beach-side journey.

Riaz Haq said...

Top #French adventure travel agency returns to #Pakistan after decade. The tour operator will offer four trips, ranging from 17 to 24 days, intended for lovers of high #mountains. #Tourism #Travel #adventure

Following the fast improving ranking of country in tourism, Terres d’Aventure, a French tour agency specialized in adventure travel, hiking and trekking has decided to re-programme Pakistan, after a decade.

According to an article appeared in French magazine Tour Mag, the tour operator would propose four trips, ranging from 17 to 24 days, intended for lovers of high mountains.

Two treks in the heart of the Karakoram Range are intended for good walkers.

“A hike for 13 days along the Baltoro glacier to the famous Concordia site, then on to the base camp of K2, the most beautiful mountain in the world according to mountaineers, and then to Gondogoro La (5 585m), from where one can view an exceptional panorama of four eight thousanders, K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II”, the tour operator said.

The agency also offered another tour, a seven-day trek along the Batura glacier in Hunza.

“With few steep passages, this trek offers a gradual acclimatization and presents no major difficulties, offering exceptional views of 14 peaks over 7000 meters and vast glacial landscapes,” added Terres d’Aventure.

Established in 1976, Terres d'Aventure is one of the top French adventure travel agencies.

In a statement the agency said: “Au-delà des clichés relayés par la presse, et sans nier certaines difficultés politiques, nous recommandons le Pakistan pour ce qu'il est réellement : un peuple qui a beaucoup à offrir, et qui aspire à la paix et à l'ouverture sur le monde. Plusieurs régions sont sûres, notamment le Gilgit-Baltistan, et les autorités sont mobilisées pour assurer la sécurité des populations et des visiteurs”.

(Translation: Beyond the clichés relayed by the press, and without denying certain political difficulties, we recommend Pakistan for what it really is: …….. Several regions are safe, including Gilgit-Baltistan, and the authorities are mobilized to ensure the safety of people and visitors.)

Saqib said...

Well this is well crafted article, Pakistan had real potential of boosting it's tourism industry, before 9/11 tourism industry was contributing since then extremism killed that industry. Now it's reviving again, we hope travel companies Pakistan Tour Packages will create an industry with sustainable tourism.

Riaz Haq said...

#Tourism Boom in #Pakistan:“The mountain scenery is staggering, and it’s perfect for trekking, but there are fascinating cities too. #Islamabad is leafy and green, with wide boulevards; #Lahore has a remarkable Old City, gardens, museums and forts" #Gilgit

Jane Westwood (Wild Frontiers) says that bookings for Pakistan tours have increased significantly during the past two or three years, an assertion that’s backed up by official tourism statistics. In 2015, Pakistan welcomed 563,000 overseas arrivals. That figure grew to 965,000 in 2016, 1.6m in 2017 and 1.9m last year. Some of those will be expats of Pakistani heritage visiting friends and family, but it is suggestive of a destination finally about to live up to the oft-applied billing of “tourism’s next big thing”.
The image of Pakistan as an unsafe country for tourists is gradually changing and now many countries around the world see the potential for tourism in Pakistan, Telegraph reported on Monday.

According to the publication, Pakistan was once one of the highlights of the classic ‘hippie trail’ or ‘overland’ route from Europe to the Far East, a rite of passage for disillusioned Western youth. Peshawar and Lahore were considered not only safe – but also fine places to kick back for a few days in a budget hostel.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is committed to kickstarting tourism to help raise money for a welfare state. His policy has so far extended to tweeting pictures of the country’s beaches and snow-capped mountains, hosting a two-day tourism summit last week, and, most significantly, cutting the red tape and entry requirements that have the potential to put off visitors.

As of this month, residents of five countries – the UK, China, Turkey, Malaysia and the UAE – can take advantage of a new online e-visa system, while most restrictions on movement within the country have been abolished.

Jane Westwood of Wild Frontiers, one of the few UK operators to offer tours of Pakistan, welcomed the changes. “The old visa system was very convoluted,” she said. “Both travellers and tour operators needed to file numerous supporting documents and the whole process took two weeks or more – now it can be wrapped up in a matter of hours. It is also significantly cheaper, from £134 down to the equivalent of $60 [£46].”

She also praised the loosening of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) system, under which travellers needed special permission to visit certain parts of Pakistan. These have been scrapped for all but a few border regions, opening up parts of Kashmir, Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan.

“It’s a beautiful country, and one of the most welcoming,” said Westwood, who has visited twice. “The mountain scenery is staggering, and it’s perfect for trekking, but there are fascinating cities too. Islamabad is leafy and green, with wide boulevards; Lahore has a remarkable Old City, gardens, museums and forts – a real combination of old and new. Then there’s the Kalasha Valleys, which have a unique pagan culture, with traditional lifestyles, dress and festivals.”

Riaz Haq said...

2,000-years-old #metal workshops found in #Peshawar #Pakistan. “The relics recovered show that the site was some sort of a metal workshop as we have found iron melting pots, molds, trowels, knives and drills, which were used at the workshop.” #Archaeology

Pakistani archaeologists say they have discovered the remains of metal workshops from the Indo-Greek period dating back to the 2nd century BCE.

The archaeologists from the University of Peshawar (UoP) made the discovery at a site in the Hayatabad area of Peshawar, Dawn reported.

Professor Gul Rahim told journalists the site is located close to the border of the Khyber district, adding that excavation work at the site had been going on for the past three years.

He said they had found coins dating back to the Indo-Greek period and estimated to be about 2,200 years old.

The professor said that the Indo-Greeks had migrated from Afghanistan to present day Peshawar, and ruled the region for about 150 years.

“The relics recovered show that the site was some sort of a metal workshop as we have found iron melting pots, molds, trowels, knives and drills, which were used at the workshop,” Rahim said.

The workshop also likely produced arrows, bows, daggers, and swords, he added.

“The site shows that the workshop was divided into blocks, whereas remains of furnaces, grinder stones and other vestiges of the era are still clearly visible,” the professor said.

Professor Gul further said “this marks the first discovery of an organised Indo-Greek workshop in the province so far.”

Meanwhile, Mohammad Naeem, an archaeological surveyor, said that “as compared to Buddhist sites that were built using brick masonry, this site was made from clay so it was difficult to preserve it.”

He said that remains of the Indo-Greek period have also been found in Gor Khatri archaeological complex.

Jan Gul, an MPhil scholar at the UoP, said that it was the first time that students were able to see Indo-Greek remains, as previously only Buddhist and Mughal relics had been studied.

Riaz Haq said...

CAA begins development work on Swat, Chitral airports

In line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move to promote tourism in the country, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has started development works for Swat, Chitral and Parachinar airports.

Sources said the Swat airport will be made operational at a cost of Rs80 million while the development work will be completed within two months.

Saidu Sharif Swat Airport is known as a gateway of tourism which was built in 1978. Later, in 2004, owing to the volatile security situation, the airport was closed.

For the same reason, Parachinar airport was also shut down in 2004. On the directions of the secretary aviation, a high-level committee visited Swat and Chitral airports.

The committee, comprising engineers, experts and administrative, surveyed the construction site of runways, terminal building and the control tower.

Under the new aviation policy, the airlines would be given perks regarding landing and parking charges at Swat and Parachinar airports.

Riaz Haq said...

PM directs opening rest houses for general public, tourists

Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Monday directed the concerned authorities to open government’s rest houses for general public and tourists.

Chairing a high level meeting to review progress in tourism sector PM Imran said that the commercial usage of rest houses will not only boost tourism in the country but also generate revenue. He said, “It is the part of the government’s policy to open rest houses for general public.” The premier said that he would not tolerate any obstacle in implementation of the government’s policy. He directed the authorities to categorise all the rest houses in the county.

On the occasion Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief sectary apprised the meeting that there were 157 rest houses in the province while Punjab Tourism Minister Raja Yasir told the prime minister that the provincial government had opened 177 rest houses for general public.

Punjab Tourism Minister Raja Yasir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Tourism Muhammad Atif and other high officials were present in the meeting.

Earlier on May 4, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that while other countries earned billions of dollars from tourism alone Pakistan had in past neglected its cultural heritage.

Meanwhile, the prime minister issued special directions to BISP chairperson Sania Nishtar to help ensure prioritised treatment of physically handicapped individuals.

The premier in a cabinet meeting issued special directives for physically handicapped and challenged individuals. He directed Sania Nishtar to ensure welfare and prosperity of such individuals. He ordered that a set quota of 2% to be kept for differently-abled citizens of Pakistan in employment opportunities.

He also directed to ensure provision of free hearing aids wheelchairs and other things to handicapped at the working place. “We will make sure that the handicapped will be taken care of and will be issued Sehat Insaf Cards,” said Imran Khan.

Continuing on he said that to attain the dream and vision of making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state the state must look after its needy and poor. He stressed on the need to care for and work for the handicapped of the country.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan : in search of Shangri‑La. #GilgitBaltistan #Tourism | Travel | The Sunday Times story on the unmatched splendor and beauty of Pakistan’s northern areas

Riaz Haq said...

Opening of Swat Expressway facilitates people

MINGORA: The tourists visiting Malakand division showed satisfaction over temporary opening of Swat Expressway during the Eidul Fitr holidays, saying it saved their time and shortened the journey between Islamabad and Swat by about two hours.

According to the district administration, more than 60,000 vehicles used the expressway to enter Swat.

“When we heard that the expressway was opened for traffic, we immediately planned to visit Swat on the second day of Eid. The expressway till Palai interchange is complete and is under construction at several locations onwards. But it is good that temporary roads have been built for light traffic,” said Haris Iqbal, a tourist from Islamabad, who was travelling to Swat with his family.

He said that he reached Swat in three hours using the newly opened expressway. The tourists said that they enjoyed lush green scenes stretched along the expressway.

“It has not only shortened the distance between Islamabad and Swat but the route also offers enchanting scenes of lush green landscape and beautiful mountains. I invite people from all over the country to come and travel on the route to see the natural beauty of Pakistan,” said Jamila Qureshi, a tourist from Lahore.

The expressway, which was temporarily opened for Eidul Fitr holidays, would be closed to traffic after the holidays. According to FWO officials, the motorway would be officially opened by Prime Minister Imran Khan after two months.

However, people of Malakand division requested the provincial government to keep the route open for them.

Former chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak had inaugurated work on the 81-kilometre project in August 2016 and it was claimed the road would be completed by December 2017. However, the project could not be completed within the stipulated time.

Later, the PTI government claimed to open it by December 2018 and once again it could not be opened according to the schedule.

The four-lane road costing Rs40 billion starts from Colonel Sher Khan Interchange and passes through Sawabi and Mardan to reach Chakdara.

Riaz Haq said...

Where are people travelling in and around Pakistan on Eid?
Eid Al Fitr is the time everyone has been waiting for the whole year to enjoy the holidays

Technology and social media are greatly influencing our travel decisions as people are relying on Instagram photos and website reviews instead of tour guides.

Inspiration from social media
Amina Jaffri, 24, an Islamabad student, mostly relied on social media for travel ideas.

“The breathtaking sights I see on Instagram every day compelled me to explore undiscovered places of Pakistan,” she says.

“After finalising the places, I sought expert opinion on hotel and car bookings on Facebook groups” she shared, adding that plentiful group tour ads on social media also helped her plan the itinerary.


Sher Ali Saafi, one of Pakistan’s top travel photographers, who currently has 30k followers on Instagram, urges responsible tourism by treating people, culture and environment with respect. “Pakistan is beautiful and we can only keep it that way by not littering. The least we can do is bring back our own trash,” he advised.

As many adventure lovers are all set to brave crowds and traffic to vacation over the Eid holidays, Gulf News checks out the top five places Pakistanis are planning to travel to this Eid

1. Hunza

The mountainous valley of Hunza situated in a remote, pristine area of northern Pakistan is about 100 kilometres from Gilgit. The valley offers exceptional experiences and views from lofty peaks to historic buildings to unique culture and heritage. In central Hunza, the 1000-year-old Altit fort and 700-year-old Baltit fort offer a glimpse into local history. The famous Attabad Lake is also near Hunza, where visitors can enjoy fishing and boating. The mighty Passu Glacier and Hopper Glacier, are only two hours away from the Centre. British mountaineer Eric Shipton called the Hunza valley “the ultimate manifestation of mountain grandeur” with the magnificent Rakaposhi (7788m) as the valley’s star attraction. Eagle’s Nest Hotel in the village of Duikar, preached on a 2850 meter high ridge in Hunza valley offers splendid views of some of Pakistan’s highest peaks and unforgettable sunrises, according to the visitors.

2. Astore

Astore, a valley 120km long with an area of 5,000km2, is located at the eastern face of Nanga Parbat, a peak 8,125 meters high. The valley has more than 100 villages of which Chilm is the most gorgeous as it is the starting point of Deosai, the world’s second highest plateau. The main attraction of this place is Rama Meadows, a place covered with pine trees, milky-white steams, and ice-covered peaks in background. One-hour jeep ride away from the meadows is the heavenly Rama Lake at an elevation of 11000 feet. Altaf Ahmed, Gilgt-based tour operator, described Astore Valley as an “undiscovered paradise.” Minimerg is another secret location near Astore valley. Harpo Pass, Bubin Pass and Mazino Pass are a must visit too. “Astore is perfect for camping with a breathtaking view of towering mountains. The best time to visit is May to October,” says Altaf.

3. Fairy Meadows

The Fairy Meadows are unquestionably one of the most picturesque destinations in northern Pakistan that offers a little taste of heaven. This lush green, eye-soothing plain, offers striking views of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain, known to climbers as the ‘Killer Mountain’. “Clean white carpets of untouched snow. Mighty peaks of blue and grey and silver and purple flinging themselves into the sky, blocking out the last of the sun and promising a radiant evening filled with stars” is how Will Hatton of The Broke Backpacker described the Fairy Meadows.

4. Neelum Valley

5. Swat and Kumrat

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$1.315b Karakoram Highway project to complete next year (2020)

The travel time from Havelian to Thakot will reduce from existing four hours to 1.5 hours after the completion of $1.315 billion Karakoram Highway (KKH) Phase-II, an early harvest project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, next year.

The road infrastructure project being completed at an estimated cost of US$ 1.315 billion, is likely to be completed in the year 2020, according to official sources on Sunday.

The project is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with a total length of 118km, of which 39km is an expressway with subgrade width of 24.7m, and 79km is Class-II highway with subgrade width of 12.3m ( minimum widths of lanes are generally between 2.5 to 3.25 metres (8.2 to 10.7 ft).)

After the completion of the project, the travel time from Havelian to Thakot will be reduced from 4 to 1.5 hours.

Giving further details of the project, the sources informed that commercial contract was signed on December 22, 2015, between National Highway Authority and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

The project includes 105 bridges among which 60 are large bridges, 42 medium and three small bridges. There are six tunnels, among which two on expressway and four on Class-II highway.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 28, 2016. On the same day, the Pakistani Government and the Export-Import Bank of China signed the government to government loan agreement, and it came into force on June 24, 2016. The project formally commenced on September 1, 2016. The construction period is 42 months.

This project is to build a new road, not an up gradation of the existing road. As it is located in the mountainous area with complicated terrain, the construction work is extremely difficult. The milestones on tunnels, bridges, subgrades are all ahead of schedule. Two tranches of advance payment have been released in 2016.

Up to now, 2071 Pakistani staff have been employed on the project which has created many indirect jobs and played a positive role in the local economic development. The project also provides a great opportunity for cultivating and training a large number of engineering talents.

In terms of environmental protection, the executing company has hired a well-known local third-party environmental monitoring agency, and strictly complied with the local standard.

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TCKP's Camping Pods, Tented Villages In KP's Hilly Areas Attract Influx Of Tourists During Eid Days

The camping pods and tented villages setup by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism Corporation(TCKP) has attracted influx of tourists in Hazara and Malakand divisions during week long vacations of Eidul Fitr.

The tourists were provided quality accommodations facilities in the 2-4 bed camping pods and tent villages in scores of tourist attractions places and resorts, including Bishigram in Swat, Sharan in Kaghan Mansehra, Thandiani in Abbottabad, Yakh Tangai in Shangla and Sheikhbadin in Lakki Marwat at affordable prices.

These pods have already been renovated by the TCKP ahead of Eidul Fitr to facilitate foreign and domestic tourists during current summer season, Director General TCKP Junaid Khan told APP on Sunday.

He said the idea of camping pods in remote scenic spots have remained highly successful where best accommodations facilitates were provided to thousands of tourists families at minimum prices compare to private hotels.

The pods were set up in all those tourists' spots where hotels and motels were not available.

He maintained that camping pods and tented villages in tourists' spots was the continuation of a process initiated by the TCKP to facilitate tourists and promote tourism in every nook and corner of the province.

As results of present Govt goal-oriented policies, he said, millions of domestic tourists have flooded to northern KP including Swat, Dir, Shangla, Buner, Chitral, Mansehra, Khagan, Naran, Abbottabad, Thandyani, Shogran, Galyat and other hilly areas where camping pods and villages proved were proved as a great blessing for them.


The tourists were provided every facility at the camping pod including play land for kids, beds for sleeping, wash rooms, accommodations and kitchen.

The KP government had also provided other facilities including parking lots, washrooms, kids play areas and tent villages to tourists at tourists resorts.

The tourism resorts in Malakand division including Swat, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Chitral, Shnagla and Buner have also seen flood of tourists from plain areas of Pakistan after the distance between Malakand division and Islamabad was cut short to only two and half hours following opening of 81-kilometer long Swat expressway before Eid.

The expressway have brought massive surge in tourists at scenic Kalam, Malam Jabba, Maho Dhand, Fizagut, Maidan, Bahrain in Swat, Pir Baba in Buner, Komrat in Dir, Shangla and Chitral where finding a room in hotels, restaurants and rest houses remained highly a challenging task during Eid days.

Kalam remained the main centre of attraction of tourists due to its cool weather where tourists from AJK, Punjab, KP and Gilgit Baltistan were seen droves.

While staying in pods and tented villages, they enjoyed waterfalls, lush green valleys, meadows, snow-covered peaks, water boating, horse and camel ridings.

Located on River Swat some 99 kilometers of Mingora Swat, Kalam's scenic areas Matiltan, Usho, Utror, Gabral and Mohodhand lake saw tourists of all social class where low income groups stayed at makeshift hotels, tents and rooms of houses vacated by local people earning great profits.

The weather of Kalam is very pleasant and tourists can come here to enjoy its natural waterfalls, lakes and snow covered mountains peaks in a safe atmosphere after Eid mostly on weekends, he maintained.

Malama Jabba, the country's lone skiing resort in Swat district also attracted influx of tourists with families enjoyed chair-lift ride. 'I came to Malam Jabba after visiting Kalam to enjoy Eid holidays to beat the heat" Sajid Khan, a resident of Nowshera told APP.

"I enjoyed a ride at chairlift at Malam Jabba as it was very comfortable, safe and tourists must come here to enjoy natural beauty of the area after Eid," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #tourist traffic jumps, up 317% over the past 5 years with #Punjab’s contribution being nearly 95%, reports Gallup Pakistan survey. Visits to #cultural heritage sites and museums are up from 1.6 million in 2014 to 6.6 million in 2018.

Tourist traffic at cultural sites in Pakistan has seen a massive increase of 317 per cent over the past five years with Punjab’s contribution being nearly 95pc, according to a report.

The report Cultural Heritage and Museum Visits in Pakistan by Gallup Pakistan, a research organisation affiliated with Gallup International Association, indicates that tourism could be a potential game changer that could revitalise the struggling economy of the country.

According to data presented in the report, available with Dawn, tourism at cultural sites has experienced a massive increase since 2014. From approximately 1.6 million visits in 2014, the tourist traffic at cultural sites rose to 6.6m visits in 2018, a 317 per cent increase in a span of five years. Punjab, as the largest and most populated province, contributed approximately 95pc whereas tourist traffic in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fluctuated over the years.

The tourist traffic at museum sites increased by approximately 50pc with the number of visits increasing from 1.7m in 2014 to around 2.7m in 2018. The tourist traffic in KP and Balochistan has also experienced a similar trend at its museum sites, whereas in Punjab and Sindh, the number of visits at museum sites fluctuated over the years. But overall, the provinces recorded maximum number of visits in 2018.

Total visits by foreigners increased by more than two folds for both cultural and museum sites in Pakistan. Over the past five years the percentage of foreign visitors to museums rose by approximately 130pc whereas foreign visitors to cultural sites rose by 100pc. Museums remained more popular among foreign visitors by receiving on average 50pc more visits than cultural sites. The trend among all four provinces for total foreign visits saw a gradual increase, with the highest increase in KP where the number of museum visits in 2018 rose by 250pc.

The Pakistan Monument Museum in Islamabad, Khewra Mines Museum in Chakwal and Lok Virsa Heritage Museum in Islamabad were the top three most popular museums from 2016 to 2018, with Taxila and Lahore museums in fourth and fifth positions.


The report states that the Shahi Qila in Lahore was the most popular cultural site. The Shalimar Garden, Lahore, was the second most popular site in 2016 and 2018, and the Hiran Minar in Sheikhupura was the second most visited site in 2017. The third most popular site in 2016 was Jehangir’s tomb, Lahore. In 2017 it was the ancient Buddhist monastic complex Takht-i-Bahi in Mardan that was the most visited and in 2018 it was the Hiran Minar.

Among foreigners the Lahore Museum was the most popular in 2016 and 2017. But, in 2018 Taxila Museum was most visited. From 2016 to 2018, Taxila was the most liked cultural site for foreign tourists. The Shahi Qila was the second most well-liked site. The third most visited site by foreigners in 2016 was Moenjodaro, Larkana, Jehangir’s Tomb in 2017 and the Shalimar Garden in 2018.

“There is room for further improvements. With some more efforts both local and foreigner visitors can be increased substantially,” said Mr Ghani of Gallup Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Top 20 best holiday destination in 2020


(CN Traveller)

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#Pakistan: Archeologists Discover Ancient World's Biggest Ivory Workshop Near #Karachi in #Sindh Province. More than 40 kilograms of ivory fragments unearthed in renewed excavation of the ancient port city of Bhanbhore’s #Islamic period 800 Years Ago.

KARACHI, Pakistan – Archaeologists revisiting the ruins of the 2,100-year-old port city of Bhanbhore in Pakistan’s Sindh province say they have found evidence of the biggest-ever ivory carving industry in the ancient world, certainly in the Islamic period.

No less than 40 kilograms (nearly 90 pounds) of ivory shards from workshops that date to about 800 years ago have been unearthed in the ruins of the ancient city – and that’s just what the workmen of antiquity were throwing out.

The excavators didn’t find finished ivory goods this time around, the archaeologists elaborate. “It’s like the waste coming out of a carpentry workshop,” archaeologist Simone Mantellini of the University of Bologna tells Haaretz.

The latest excavation of Trench 9 at the site, halfway between the Bhanbhore grand mosque – one of the earliest in the region – and its southern gate, began in 2017, about a century after the city’s scientific exploration began. The new dig is a joint project of the Sindh government’s Department of Culture and Antiquities and the Italian Foreign Ministry, through the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan.

The new exploration is led by the latter’s professor emeritus Valeria Piacentini with Mantellini and Agnese Fusaro, an archaeologist and ceramics specialist at the University of Barcelona.

The discovery in Trench 9 “is definitely the largest ivory workshop discovered in the world,” Mantellini says. Yet he suspects the ivory dumps found so far – detritus from a massive industry of carving elephant tusks during the Islamic period – is just the beginning: Archaeologists have only uncovered just a small part of the industrial area, he tells Haaretz.

On the mouth of the Indus River

Millennia after the event, it is hard to nail down the oldest cities and civilizations in the world. Intense settlement certainly began over 9,000 years ago, based on finds around the Mediterranean – including in Israel and Turkey – and the Indian subcontinent too. Settlements have been found in Balochistan, western Pakistan, that also date to around 9,000 years: they may have been the harbinger of the Indus Valley Civilization (also called the Harappan Civilization). That spanned today’s Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India, and is thought to go back around at least 7,500 years.

Discovered by accident in the mid-19th century, the ancient city of Harappa is located in modern Pakistan. About 400 kilometers (250 miles) away from Bhanbhore in Sindh province are the spectacular ruins of Mohenjo Daro, dated to at least 4,500 years ago and one of the biggest known settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization. Mohenjo Daro was abandoned in the 19th century B.C.E. as that civilization declined, possibly due to climate change and drought. Interestingly, the site’s original name was Moen Jo Daro, which in the Sindhi language means “Mound of the Dead.” Later, when the qualities of the infrastructure left everyone slack-jawed, it was changed to “Mohen Jo Daro” (“Mound of Happy People”).

Bhanbhore was founded rather later, in the first century B.C.E., at the mouth of the Indus River, about 65 kilometers east of Karachi. Founded during the Scytho-Parithan period, it continued throughout the Hindu-Buddhist period and the Muslim period, until collapsing in about the 13th century. Its name was not lost, though: Popular Pakistani folklore names Bhanbhore as the hometown of Sassi, the “Juliet of Sindh,” and Punno, her Romeo, who was a trader.

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#BritishAirways compete with #Virgin Atlantic for flights/passengers to/from #Pakistan. BA plans to add a 2nd route to Pakistan, 4 times a week from #London Heathrow to #Lahore as Virgin Atlantic starts service #Manchester-#Lahore. #tourism #economy #PTI

British Airways (BA/BAW) has announced that it plans to added a second route to Pakistan, from London Heathrow to Lahore.

The move comes just days after Virgin Atlantic announced that it was launching services to Islamabad and Lahore from London and Manchester.

The British Airways flight will operate 4 times-per-week using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

BA director of network and alliances, Neil Chernoff, said: ““Our new flights will give us the opportunity to open up more of Pakistan to travelers from the UK, so they can experience its delights and rich culture,”

Adding: “We also think this will be hugely popular with the British Pakistani community, giving them more convenient options to visit family and friends.”

The first flight will operate on 12th October, a month before Virgin’s operations begin.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #Pakistan should be your pick for a post-lockdown #adventure. Under a new #tourism drive, Pakistan is finally ready to take its place as one of the world's premier trekking destinations. #Karakoram #mountain

It is autumn of 2019 and the world knows nothing of Covid-19 or R numbers. I’m stood at Concordia camp in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. Tomorrow, I will complete the final leg of a two-week trek to K2 base camp at the foot of Earth’s second-highest mountain....

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#Pakistan 8,000’ers (Over 8,000-Meter Peaks): K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrums & Nanga Parbat. After some slow days because of bad weather in the Karakorum and on Nanga Parbat, climbers have begun to head up again. #adventure #tourism #Himalaya #Karakoram

In the interim, all the teams on 8,000m expeditions have had time to reach K2 Base Camp. This includes an all-Pakistani team from Hushe that includes Mohammad Taqi, Ali Durrani, Muhammad Hassan, Mushtaq Ahmad, and Yousuf Ali.

Nepal’s Pioneer Adventure team, with a strong Sherpa crew and three Ukrainian clients, have arrived as well, after a “boring trek to BC”, according to member Olya Koroleva. A very unusual view of the spectacular hike through the Karakorum.

Meanwhile, Mirza Ali’s Karakorum Expeditions squad battled cold and fresh snow to fix the route to Camp 2. “The team started from C1 at 8 am despite heavy fresh snow and by 4 pm they had fixed rope to Camp 2,” Mirza Ali wrote.”A truly remarkable job.”

Jalal Uddin, Eid Muhammad, Ahmed Baig, and Faryad Karim lead the fixers, supported by Inayat Ali, Ghulam Abbass, Basharat Hussain, and Younis Ali.

Broad Peak
On Broad Peak, Karakorum Expeditions has its own team, which has already set up tents in Camp 2.

Lotta Hintsa reported yesterday that she and Don Bowie were preparing to leave again for Camp 3, despite an avalanche that swept that area recently.

Broad Peak has also had its first partial ski descent when Thomas Lone skied down from Camp 1. Lone has joined the Russian Dathzone Freeride team of Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovnik. Last year, that duo made an almost complete ski descent from Nanga Parbat. Back then, they teamed up with the late Cala Cimenti.

Nearby, on the Gasherbrums, the Altitude Team climbing GII are back to Camp 1. They report that high-altitude porters have already fixed the Banana Ridge, thus clearing the way to Camp 2. The weather was still iffy when they left yesterday, but the Catalans trusted an improving forecast for tomorrow and Thursday.

Marco Confortola and Mario Vielmo, who had intended to break trail to Camp 2 on Gasherbrum I, had to retreat after a night at 6,000m because of lack of visibility. But the excursion did help their acclimatization.

Nanga Parbat
Further west, on Nanga Parbat, Lolo Gonzalez and Sergio Carrascoso observed avalanches sweeping down the Diamir Face all day yesterday, after nearly a week of non-stop snowfall. Because of the relentless bad weather, they are not yet acclimatized, even after 23 days. At this point, it’s now or never.

“Let’s hope snow conditions improve and the weather stabilizes because we need to stay eight days at altitude,” Gonzalez told his home team. “[We need to be] as high as we can get but in any case, not lower than 6,500m in order to acclimatize.”

Gonzalez says that in his 16 Himalaya expeditions, he has never had to stay so long in a Base Camp with so little altitude gain. At least, their relatively low Base Camp, set up on a grassy alpine meadow, is warm and comfortable.

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Travel & Tourism
Development Index 2021
Rebuilding for a Sustainable
and Resilient Future
MAY 2022

As mentioned, Japan is the top performer in both
the APAC region and globally, with Australia (7th)
and Singapore (9th) ranking in the global top 10.
However, it is lower-middle-income economies such
as Viet Nam (+4.7%, 60th to 52nd), Indonesia
(+3.4%, 44th to 32nd) and Pakistan (+2.9%, 89th
to 83rd) that have improved their TTDI scores the
most since 2019. China, which ranks 12th on the
TTDI, has the region’s largest T&T economy, while
the Philippines, which depended the most on T&T
for its GDP in 2020, ranks 75th. Although Japan
and Singapore lead the ranking in the Eastern APAC
and South-East Asia subregions, respectively, India
(54th) is the top scorer in South Asia.


“Six points increase in the ranking of Pakistan on global travel and tourism index is quite a significant progress and now Pakistan is among the countries in the Asia Pacific Region that have improved its ranking the most since 2019,” PTDC Managing Director Aftabur Rehman Rana said.

He added that during the last two years, the federal and provincial governments had made significant progress in improving the performance of tourism sector in Pakistan by taking various steps to upgrade tourism services infrastructure, business environment, safety and security, health and hygiene, and socio-economic resilience.

“Although we have made good progress, we still need to do a lot more to further enhance the performance of tourism sector in Pakistan in coming years, which has huge potential to play a key role in the overall socio-economic development of Pakistan,” he added.

Overall, Japan has occupied the top spot on the latest edition of the index. Japan is followed by the USA, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Singapore and Italy which have been ranked in top 10 on the Travel and Tourism Development index, respectively.

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Pakistani peaks set to attract record number of international climbers

As many as 1,400 mountaineers from around the globe, including the first female Arab climber, are expected to scale some of the world’s highest peaks located in Gilgit-Baltistan this year.

It’s a stark contrast to the previous year, when 550 foreign climbers arri­ved for adventure tourism.

The Gilgit-Baltistan tourism department had already issued 700 permits to international climbers, and as many were expected to be issued this summer, an official told Dawn.

The climbers — coming from Europe, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, China, Russia, Poland, Japan and Norway — are eyeing to summit various peaks, including five eight-thousanders (i.e. mountains towering above 8,000 metres) and 20 seven- and six-thousanders.

Pakistan boasts five of the world’s 14 eight-thousanders, inclu­ding the world’s second-highest peak K2 (8,611 metres), followed by Nanga Parbat (ranked ninth at 8,126 metres), Gasher­brum-I (11th at 8,080 metres), Broad Peak (12th at 8,051 metres), and Gasher­brum-II (13th at 8,035m).

Moreover, 40 Pakistani mountaineers are also in the race, including Sajid Ali Sadpara, Sir­baz Khan, Abdul Joshi, She­roze Kashif, Samina Baig and Naila Kiani.

As many as 3,000 local porters have been hired by several expedition teams to carry the supplies.

Peaceful environment

Alpine Club of Pakistan Secre­tary Karrar Haidri said many international expedition team members from various countries had already arrived in Pakistan. He said this was the highest number of international mountaineers coming to Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

Mr Haidri said a record number of more than 400 climbers would attempt to scale K2, the second-highest — and also the most challenging — peak in the world.

He believed that the prevailing peaceful environment in Pakistan and the introduction of online visas had helped attract such a large number of international tourists this year.

GB Tourism Mini­ster Raja Nasir Ali Khan told Dawn the tourism department was ready to facilitate climbers and cope with emergencies. He said 1,200 international climbers had applied for permits, adding that this year would witness record adventure tourism activity in Pakistan.

Home Secretary Iqbal Hussain Khan told Dawn the GB government and the army had all arrangements in place to rescue climbers in case of emergency.

Adventure Pakistan CEO Muhammad Ali Nagri told Dawn several expeditions had reached base camps while more were on the way.

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Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE)
Hotel & restaurant industries of Pakistan seem to be in their incubation phase – with significant room for improvement, particularly if the country wishes to keep up with global trends. KB by


The tourism and hospitality industry has been rising in significance in Pakistan over the past few years, contributing 5.9% to national GDP and generating 3.8 million jobs in the year 2019. In terms of growth rates, this industry expanded by 3.5% in the same year, compared to the 2.5% expansion of the Pakistani economy as a whole.

Considering the general growth of the tourism and hospitality industry of Pakistan, the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics carried out a series of focus group discussions and collected data via questionnaires with key stakeholders in the restaurant and tourism sectors – two of the primary contributors to the hospitality and tourism industry – to ascertain salient bottlenecks in these markets and how they can be corrected.

1.Introduction and Overview

The tourism and hospitality industry constitutes a significant portion of global trade and investment. In 2019, it made up 10.4% of global GDP and supported 334 million jobs – amounting to approximately 1/10 of the international workforce.

During the 2014-2019 period, the industry was responsible for a whopping ¼ of all new jobs created – indicating a thriving demand for the service around the world. In terms of tourist expenditures, the majority – i.e. 71.7% – go to domestic services, signifying a general preference for local options.

In the Asia-Pacific region, of which Pakistan is a part, the GDP arising from tourism and hospitality stood at USD 3.061 trillion in the year 2019 – and generated approximately 185.1 million jobs. It was the highest performing region in terms of annual growth of the industry worldwide.

In the subsequent year, the tourism and hospitality industry took a significant hit around the world – leading to the loss of 62 million jobs, an aggregate decline of 18.5%. The brunt of the impact was absorbed by the SME sector, which constituted 80% of enterprises in the industry.

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Boost to tourism: First international flight lands at Skardu airport
In a touching gesture, the captain of the flight opened a window and proudly hoisted the national flag

SKARDU: A historic moment unfolded at Skardu International Airport as flight PK 234 touched down, marking it the first-ever international flight to land on Skardu soil.

The arrival was celebrated with a heartwarming water cannon salute, painting the skies with a majestic display of water arcs.

In a touching gesture, the captain of the flight opened a window and proudly hoisted the national flag, symbolising the unity and pride of the nation. Traditional hats and thoughtful gifts were joyously distributed among the passengers aboard the inaugural flight, setting the tone for a remarkable journey.

While the initial tourist count was modest, with only 80 passengers on this milestone flight, officials from the national airline revealed that these travelers had embarked on a journey from Dubai to Skardu, making a connecting stop at Skardu. This strategic connection is expected to pave the way for an influx of tourists, injecting new life into the local tourism industry.

The residents of Skardu are excited at this as a momentous step towards boosting the region’s tourism. With Skardu being renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, the commencement of international flights is anticipated to open doors to a world of opportunities.

The successful landing of the first international flight on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day has added an extra layer of jubilation to the festivities.