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Old May 10th, 2019, 01:55 PM   #1761
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Tourism zones - mixing business with pleasure

Pakistan is a top trending travel destination on social media and it has also been acknowledged by various global tourism promoters including the British backpacker society last year.

The improved perception is reinforced by the recent announcement from various international airlines to resume operations to Pakistan after a decade.

As the trend is getting traction, tourism development authorities organised the Pakistan Tourism Summit in Islamabad, where foreign social media influencers were called to share their experience as they travelled through various places in Pakistan.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1961546...ness-pleasure/
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Old May 10th, 2019, 02:30 PM   #1762
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PTI govt clears $127m project to improve tourism in K-P

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government cleared on Tuesday a $127-million project to improve tourism in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), removing the hurdle in the way of approval of a $100-million loan by the World Bank next month for financing the project.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) recommended the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Integrated Tourism Development project for final approval of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec). The CDWP’s go-ahead was a prerequisite for approval of the $100-million loan by the World Bank board of directors, which is scheduled to meet in mid-May.

It was the second project that the CDWP cleared in less than a month which would be financed by taking loans from the World Bank. Earlier, the CDWP cleared the concept of a $400-million project to bring reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1957712...e-tourism-k-p/
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Old May 14th, 2019, 10:44 PM   #1763
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The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the appointment of Minister of State for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari as the chairman of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development announced via a tweet.

The cabinet's decision was endorsed by the PTDC board, the tweet further said.


The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has laid emphasis on promoting tourism in Pakistan and has taken multiple steps to facilitate travellers. Last year, the government relaxed the visa policy and announced the offering of online visas to visitors from 175 countries.

The government has also taken steps to promote religious tourism. Prime Minister Imran Khan last year laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur crossing that would facilitate Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit holy sites in Pakistan.

The premier has stressed on the importance of proper infrastructure to facilitate tourists.

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Old May 21st, 2019, 11:57 PM   #1764
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Govt Plans to Set up a Buddhist Trail in KP

https://propakistani.pk/2019/05/20/g...t-trail-in-kp/



The government is working to develop a Buddhist trail by exploring religious sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab in order to attract the followers of Buddhism and monks from across the globe.

This was disclosed by Zulfikar Bukhari, who has recently taken charge as the Chairman of Pakistan Tourism Development Cooperation (PTDC).

The initiative is being taken by the government as part of its plan to market religious tourism by introducing its rich Buddhist heritage to the world. The trail would start from Swabi and Swat, and culminate at Taxila, which had numerous Buddhist sites.

“We will start by focusing Buddhist sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and gradually move down to Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan where numerous ancient sites of various religions are located,” he said while reiterating the government’s resolve to explore the untapped potential in the tourism industry.

Chairman PTDC also hinted at engaging foreign Buddhists to attract their investment for preserving their cultural heritage.

Sacred places of other religions, including Sikhism and Hinduism, are also scattered all over Pakistan and the PTDC is planning to provide facilities there to attract their followers not only from across the country but also from abroad, he added.

He said the students and academia would be engaged to formulate a policy and help the government promote tourism, as a collective resolve and efforts are required for this purpose.

They would also help the government demonstrate its interest in preserving and showcasing its non-Islamic heritage, besides projecting a soft pluralistic image of Pakistan internationally, he added.

Zulfikar Bukhari said that everyone in the country could practice his religion freely as per the vision of Pakistan’s forefathers and that of the prime minister, who was a strong proponent to make the country a welfare state on the pattern of the State of Madina.

He said that tourism contributes around 10 percent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) globally but unfortunately, in Pakistan, only 2.9% of this highly profitable industry is included in the GDP.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said, the PTDC aims to increase tourism’s share to 10 percent of GDP which would help the industry add over Rs. 20 billion in the national kitty.

Various areas in Pakistan like Taxila, Takht -i- Bahi, Mardan, Peshawar, and Lahore are home to some of the rarest Buddhist relics. Pakistan has been the cradle of Buddhist art and culture since time immemorial.
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Old May 22nd, 2019, 03:18 PM   #1765
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Pakistan Post to open rest houses for general public

The Pakistan Post has decided to open its rest houses across the country for general public to increase its revenue. These rest houses were previously used for the accommodation of postal services officers and employees however now onwards a total of 40 postal rest houses are available for general public on a reasonable rent.

These rest houses have been distributed in three categories; A,B&C according their daily rent, which has been settled according to their location, condition and services. Pakistan post would charge Rs3,000 per night for its 15 category-A rest houses, which are located at Karcachi City, Multan, Jehlum, Mianwali, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Natyia Gali, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Shadman Lahore, Lahore Cant, Sialkot GPO, Sialkot Cant, Faisalabad GPO, and Quetta.

https://nation.com.pk/19-May-2019/pa...general-public
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Old June 2nd, 2019, 08:23 PM   #1766
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PESHAWAR: Camping pods and tent villages are ready to welcome enthusiastic vacationers out to enjoy summer nights under open skies in the scenic valleys of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Tourism Corporation K-P Managing Director Junaid Khan has said that the famous camping pods and tent villages installed for the tourists at scenic spots will be opening from Eidul Fitr to facilitate them during the ongoing peak tourism season in the province.

Camping pods and tent villages in several tourist attractions, including Bishigram in Swat, Sharan in Kaghan, Thandiani in Abbottabad, Yakh Tangai in Shangla and Sheikhbadin in Lakki Marwat have already been renovated and will be opened during Eid and onwards for the tourists throughout the tourism season, he said talking to media at Iftar dinner.
Junaid said a camping pod could accommodate 40 to 50 tourists at a time, who can avail every facility including security, play land for kids and kitchen.

The camping pods, he said, have two or four bedrooms with washroom, kitchen, children’s play areas, parking lots and bonfire. There are also tent villages for the enthusiasts of adventure tourism.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had a brief stay as well in the Camping Pods in Naran and is very keen to have these facilities for both the local and foreign tourists along with foolproof security.

The camping pods have been developed in scenic places like Bishigram Swat Valley. Beshigram, laying at an attitude of 4,335 meter on the sea level, as 5km from Madyan and at a distance of 57km from Mingora. The trail meanders through wild flowers, herbs, shrub and trees. The journey to the lake is accompanied with melodious songs of a variety of birds along with the tunes reduced by waterfalls and wind glowing through the pines tree. The Bishigram Lake is farther from any permanent human presence and is believed to be a dwelling of fairies who do not like to mingle with humans.

In Thandiyani Abbottabad, located in the northeast of Abbottabad District at and is about 31m from Abbottabad in the foothills of the Himalayas. Thandiani is characterised by excellent weather and lush greenery in the summer months, and snow-covered vistas and hills in the winter.

A beautiful trek leads to Thandiani from Abbottabad that passes through Dagri Naka. To the east beyond the Kunar River are the mountains of Kashmir and the mountains of Kaghan and Kohistan are visible to the north and northeast. To the northwest are the ranges of Swat and Chitral.

In Sharan Kaghan Valley, Paras is the starting point for a detour to Sharan which is at a distance of 16km from Paras and is accessible only by jeeps. From here one can go on an exciting two to three days trekking and camping trip to the top of Musa Ka Musala and onwards to the Siran Valley. There is a forest rest house and a Youth Hostel with a capacity of 20 beds at Sharan to provide accommodation facilities to the adventure travelers. To stay at these facilities you need booking in advance from respective departments. This place is also ideal for camping.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2019.
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Old June 3rd, 2019, 08:32 PM   #1767
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Findmyadventure: the startup capitalizing on Pakistan’s rising tourism industry
As Pakistan begins to get more interest from edgy Instagram influences and travel bloggers, some companies are gearing up to serve the influx of tourists

It is a story more familiar in the popular imagination as having played out on the campuses of Stanford or Harvard in the United States: a few smart, curious, driven young students get together in a dorm room and create a product that becomes the foundation of a major tech company. Except the dorm room in this story is at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. And the startup in question is FindMyAdventure – Pakistan’s sole tourism market-place, which connects vendors and tour operators with tourists.

The idea for creating the company first came to CEO Komail Naqvi, who used to lead university’s official excursion party. It was 2016, and the first idea the five founding members Husnain Habib Malik, Khawaja Raza Abbas, Komail Naqvi, Shozab Naqvi and Syed Haider Raza thought about doing was to start their own tour operating, but they quickly came to the realization that a tour operator on its own is not a scalable business.

Instead, they decided to establish a marketplace for tour operators, giving options to tourists from a much larger menu of both operators and destinations. The idea has been a relatively quick success, with the company already earning revenue from three main sources: a percentage of revenue from tour operators when they are able to get referrals from the website, directly selling customized tourism packages, and through facilitating B2B clients.

Since its founding in 2016, three of the five founding members are now earning their livelihood entirely from the startup, which has been making them more money than had the three of them been working for the banks or multinational companies like Procter and Gamble. And meanwhile, the company has attracted capital from foreign investors as well as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Overcoming the security factor

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), international tourism is a bigger business than the global trade in oil, food, or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce and represents at the same time one of the main income ‎sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with ‎increasing diversification and competition among destinations.‎

Unfortunately for Pakistan, the security situation in the country has not let it develop a robust tourism industry, though there are also other reasons as to why there are so few tourists in the country. Fortunately, the improving security situation and, more importantly, the perception about security in the country has increased tourism in Pakistan three-fold in the last few years, says Husnain Habib Malik.

He is right: as recently as 2013, there were just 566,000 foreign tourists in Pakistan. In 2019, the World Travel and Tourism Council estimates Pakistan will get 1.4 million tourists from outside the country. About half of those come from Britain, the United States, and Canada, with over one-third coming from Britain alone. (Now you know why British Airways is resuming direct flights between London and Islamabad.)

And those tourists are beginning to generate serious economic value for the country. The total value of the spending by foreign tourists within Pakistan is expected to exceed $1 billion this year.


The growth is beginning to result in much more business for tour operators in the country. Rocket Tourism’s Fahd Vohra said that last year, his company sent 150 people to the Northern Areas and this year, he estimates that the number will be roughly 300 people.

However, Vohra said that rupee devaluation can be one of the reason as well for increase in domestic tourism as people may have skipped their trips to places like Thailand and have opted for local tourist destinations.

Meanwhile, Josh Tours took almost three times the number of tourists it took to New Years’ Night to Kund Malir in 2018 as compared to the tourists it took on the same event in 2017.

Carving a niche in tourism

A LUMS graduate and a former banker, Malik is one of the co-founders of FindMyAdventure, which has entertained over 8,000 tourists in less than three years so far since its inception in 2016. The startup has so far generated more than $1.2 million in gross revenue in its two and half years of operations. Revenue streams are through retail trip bookings and corporate sales. The startup aspires to become a one-window solution for corporate clients.

“The industry has great potential as there are a lot of places, which are yet to be explored properly. More accurately, the industry in Pakistan is yet to fully develop so yes there is great potential. We have a lot of places from beaches to mountains. Pakistan has great potential and almost have all the ingredients to become a successful tourist destination,” Husnain said.

FindMyAdventure was awarded USAID’s Small and Medium Enterprise Activity and Innovation Grant in recognition of its efforts to improve livelihoods and socio-cultural vibrancy in Pakistan in Pakistan last year.

The funds it received from USAID has helped them launch their pilot Guides Program and now they have 30 guides in the country. However, the startup wants to increase the number of guides and the vision is to have a guide at all tourist destinations in the country.

“We are in the initial phase and it has been very satisfactory experience so far. I was among only five people from Pakistan, who were selected to attend Alibaba’s entrepreneur program,” Komail said.

Alibaba e-founder fellowship was a 14-day learning intensive fellowship structured around the formation of Alibaba and the tech ecosystem of China. It is designed to help entrepreneurs from other countries in Asia learn and adapt their techniques.

FindMyAdventure started off with a 6% net revenue margin in 2016, going up to 8% in 2017 and 10% in 2018. Revenue generated from gross bookings has multiplied significantly over the span of three years, starting from around $100,000 in 2016 to over $1,000,000. At the moment, FindMyAdventure have over 100 vendors.

Recently, the startup has raised over $100,000 in funding from a Pakistani Angel investor based in the Middle East. The investor comes from a vast experience in private equity in the Middle East.

The travel startup allows individuals and groups to choose from planned itineraries or customized trips, along with offering accommodation, transport, and convenient payment options in a one-window operation.

The clientele

FindMyAdventure has also catered foreign tourists. Komail Naqvi says that one out of every 10 clients are foreigners, and they contribute 7% of the company’s revenue in 2018. The startup counts local corporate clients, who may have several persons included for one trip, as a single client. That difference in record-keeping is what accounts for the difference in the share of foreign tourists by number of persons and total spending.

Yet despite accounting for a small fraction of overall tourist volume for the company, they tend to account for the majority of certain types of tours: for instance, 98% of the people who attempt to climb K2 are foreign tourists.


According to the financial records of of FindMyAdventure, made available to Profit, 60% of tourists that FindMyAdventure has catered to booked tours in the North region, 35% in the coastal regions, and 5% for religious tourism.

Global players entering the industry

Apart from startups like FindMyAdventure, large international tourism companies have also started to focus on Pakistan’s underperforming tourism industry.

The London-based International Hospitality Investment Group (IHIG) has recently started its operations in Pakistan with a different brand name – Happily, offering what they claim is a cost-effective vacation home ownership system in Pakistan.

Happily CEO Noorul Asif said that IHIG has already acquired two hotels and upgraded facilities with modern amenities in Shogran and Bhurban. IHIG will be investing $118 million in the tourism industry of Pakistan with focus on mainly providing accommodation.

“We believe that the best time a family spends together is during vacations. We want to make then an experience of a lifetime,” Noorul Asif said.

However, Happily operates on a different model from hotels. It offers a membership fee that allows families to share the ownership of vacation properties with other families. A person selects an offering for one, two or three families. They also have to choose from three seasons: peak (red), mild (white) and off season (blue), with pricing varied for the time of the year. The package allows the person to have an ownership stake in the vacation home of their choice, which allows them to spend a week or two per year over a period of 15 or 25 years.

However, one would not be restricted to vacationing in that one spot for the next few decades. Owners of Happily’s shared vacation homes can also exchange their week with IHIG’s partner hotels in 80 countries.

“If you want to exchange your week with a four-star in Dubai, you only have to pay a nominal amount of around 200$ for a week in Dubai. According to my research, you will have to pay otherwise $200 for one-day stay at a comparable hotel,” a sales representative said.

Asif said that shared vacation homes and exchanges are common throughout the world but Happily has brought the concept to Pakistan for the first time.

Bookit 247 is another such company that is looking to tap Pakistan’s tourism industry. The company is looking to tap Pakistan market by facilitating foreign tourists to book hotel rooms through their online portal, bookit247.com.

“The company will be starting its operations in next few months in Pakistan. The tourism industry has been growing so that certainly has enticed us to start our operations for foreigners touring Pakistan as well,” Bookit 247 Business Development Manager Wasif Arshad said.

The company has been facilitating Pakistanis who travel abroad by helping them find hotels online. The company is a joint venture between Treet Corporation’s Syed Sheryar Ali and Netsol Technology’s Omar Shahab Ghauri.

At the moment, Bookit 247 is signing agreements with different hotels in Pakistan, ahead of starting its operations in the country.


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Old June 3rd, 2019, 09:51 PM   #1768
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PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - APP - 23rd May, 2019 ) :'Sheikh Badin' camp, a scenic mountainous station in the North of Dera Ismail Khan and west of Lakki Marwat districts a historical tourist place will be opened from first day of Eid-ul-Fitr for people to enjoy the scenic hill top view.
[/B]
An official of the camp Thursday informed that the administration have decided to open the camp for tourists during Eid and proper inauguration of the camp would be made by the provincial Minister for Tourism.

There will be facilitates for tourists in the camp like camping pods for beds rooms, tents adults group, bathrooms and cooking facilities.

It is worth mentioning here that 'Sheikh Badin is situated at a height of 4,516 feet in the Sothern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Sheikh Badin top, according to the estimate, can support a population of 25,000.

Sheikh Badin remained the summer headquarters of the Derajat Brigade and the civil officers of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan districts also spend part of the hot season here.

The 'Sheikh Badin' enjoys a cool breezy weather in summer with wandering clouds often covering the huts on top at small distances from one another. In the wake of a cruel summer on plains during the hot days of June and July where one finds himself in the throes of heat all of sweat, the life at the top and ridges is comfortably cool.

Even in the day time, inside a verandah without any electric fan one feels cool.

The development of 'Sheikh Badin' necessitates the importance of a hill station, many believe, in the suburbs of DI Khan, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Bannu, Mianwali, South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Karak, Bhakar and others districts.

The documents stated that 'Sheikh Badin' project was launched as non ADP scheme with a cost of Rs.77.191 million in 2005. Later it was reflected as ADP scheme.

Rs 108.019 million for construction of road, Rs 038.054 million for supply of drinking water, Rs 004.098 million for supply of electricity and Rs. 003.112 million for restoration of old rest house.

Officials of KP Tourism Department said that the provincial government was taking measures to develop the area for tourists. They said that the department has written letter to C&W department for construction of road and expressed hope that soon it would be done.

Those who are interested to visit this scenic location can contact 0346-5187206 or 0345-9830796 for booking and more details.
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Old June 10th, 2019, 02:44 AM   #1769
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Originally Posted by rayaan View Post



PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - APP - 23rd May, 2019 ) :'Sheikh Badin' camp, a scenic mountainous station in the North of Dera Ismail Khan and west of Lakki Marwat districts a historical tourist place will be opened from first day of Eid-ul-Fitr for people to enjoy the scenic hill top view.
[/B]
An official of the camp Thursday informed that the administration have decided to open the camp for tourists during Eid and proper inauguration of the camp would be made by the provincial Minister for Tourism.

There will be facilitates for tourists in the camp like camping pods for beds rooms, tents adults group, bathrooms and cooking facilities.

It is worth mentioning here that 'Sheikh Badin is situated at a height of 4,516 feet in the Sothern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Sheikh Badin top, according to the estimate, can support a population of 25,000.

Sheikh Badin remained the summer headquarters of the Derajat Brigade and the civil officers of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan districts also spend part of the hot season here.

The 'Sheikh Badin' enjoys a cool breezy weather in summer with wandering clouds often covering the huts on top at small distances from one another. In the wake of a cruel summer on plains during the hot days of June and July where one finds himself in the throes of heat all of sweat, the life at the top and ridges is comfortably cool.

Even in the day time, inside a verandah without any electric fan one feels cool.

The development of 'Sheikh Badin' necessitates the importance of a hill station, many believe, in the suburbs of DI Khan, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Bannu, Mianwali, South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Karak, Bhakar and others districts.

The documents stated that 'Sheikh Badin' project was launched as non ADP scheme with a cost of Rs.77.191 million in 2005. Later it was reflected as ADP scheme.

Rs 108.019 million for construction of road, Rs 038.054 million for supply of drinking water, Rs 004.098 million for supply of electricity and Rs. 003.112 million for restoration of old rest house.

Officials of KP Tourism Department said that the provincial government was taking measures to develop the area for tourists. They said that the department has written letter to C&W department for construction of road and expressed hope that soon it would be done.

Those who are interested to visit this scenic location can contact 0346-5187206 or 0345-9830796 for booking and more details.
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Old June 10th, 2019, 02:45 AM   #1770
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Old July 3rd, 2019, 08:44 PM   #1771
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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) would launch a national tourism promotion application to provide the necessary and latest information to the local and foreign tourists about attractive recreational sites across the country, its Chairman Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism Corporation’s mobile application, Bukhari said, “The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government again takes lead in carrying forward Prime Minister Imran Khan’s strong vision about tourism.

“The tourism sector will flourish in the near future and if it takes technology as an enabler, travel for everyone will be simplified,” he remarked.

The federal government would replicate this initiative at the national level and share it with other provinces so that the sector could be uplifted and the country’s economy could be strengthened, he added.

The PTDC chairman, who also happens to be the special assistant to the prime minister for overseas Pakistanis & human resource development, said this initiative was the first of its kind which would provide tourists an opportunity to plan their tours easily, besides connecting travel lovers across the country.

He also shared the PTDC plan of bringing all the provinces including Punjab, Sindh, Khyber PakhtunKhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad and Jammu Kashmir under one umbrella to promote Pakistan’s religious tourism abroad.

“Soon, Prime Minister Imran Khan will launch the PTDC’s mega project regarding the branding of Pakistan abroad,” he added.

Bukhari reiterated the government’s resolve to boost tourist activities across the country by embracing modern technology, “as this sector could bring valuable foreign exchange to the country”.

He said the tourism industry could be helpful in evoking the fifth industrial revolution in Pakistan.

“Tourism is contributing around 10pc in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) globally but unfortunately in Pakistan, only 2.9pc is the contribution of this highly profitable industry in the national economy,” he stated. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the PTDC aims to contribute 10pc to the GDP which will help the the national kitty earn over Rs20 billion.”

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Old July 9th, 2019, 04:12 AM   #1772
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Would you take the kids on holiday to Pakistan?

Weaving up a giddying mountain track on horseback towards one of the world’s highest peaks last month, I could only reflect on how much this year’s family holiday was every bit as different as we had hoped.

With a frothing river thundering at the bottom of a vertiginous gorge on one side and alpine forest on the other, we were a long way from our usual fare of a kids’ club belting out ‘Baby Shark’.

For several years after the arrival of our daughter, holidays had become stuck in a comfortable rut. We chose a resort in the Med or the Far East, complete with disco and water slides, and spent 10 days pleasantly lazing.

Yet the memory of more varied pre-baby holidays kept nagging and a new posting to Islamabad to cover the region for The Telegraph this summer gave the opportunity for something different.

Pakistan may not yet spring to mind as an obvious family holiday destination, with a reputation that is more Homeland than The Travel Show. Yet many in the country argue, with some justification, that such a portrayal is unfair. The militant violence which blighted the country earlier in the decade has fallen dramatically following military security campaigns, and the country is raring to regain its standing as a jewel in the world of exotic and adventurous travel. The wider world is staring to take notice. British Airways last month resumed direct flights after a hiatus of 11 years. Planes currently leave three days a week, but that is expected to become more frequent. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to visit in the autumn.

As a foreign correspondent I often have to write about the grimmer things going on in a country, but like anywhere there is more to Pakistan than doom and gloom. Since arriving, we have had wonderful family weekends at the seaside in Karachi, exploring the bazaar in Peshawar, or sampling the art galleries and old city of Lahore. We have not felt threatened anywhere and have only found hospitality and curiosity. The procession of people who want to greet our daughter, pinch her cheeks and take a selfie can at times be almost overwhelming.



The seaside in Karachi CREDIT: GETTY

For our summer holiday, as the temperatures nudged 110F (43C) in Islamabad, we had decided to escape the heat to what is for many, the country’s finest attraction: the spectacular northern highlands.

The confluence of the Himalayan, Karakoram and Hindu Kush ranges bless the region with some of the most stunning mountainscapes and trekking in the world. Throw in the local passion for fast and furious polo, dramatic hill forts and diverse local cultures and you have quite a package.

“We have everything, but the problem is that we have been titled as a terrorist country,” said Irfanullah Baig of Waljis Travel, which arranged our trip. One of the oldest travel agents catering to overseas tourists, he makes arrangements for nearly 2,000 foreigners a year, mainly from the UK.

But beyond security, was Pakistan right for a two-week family holiday, we wondered? Was there enough to satisfy both the adults and an easily bored five-year-old?


Mountain views in Chitral CREDIT: GETTY

Our bespoke itinerary included 14 nights away with a driver and Toyota Hilux to handle the sometimes rough mountain roads.

Heading north from the capital, our first stop was the sublime mountain valley of Chitral. This former princely state within touching distance of the border with Afghanistan is known for its tumultuous polo, more akin to Afghan buzkashi than the formal game played elsewhere. It is also home to some enchanting hotels, namely the Ayun Fort Inn and the Hindu Kush Heights, with rooms that soak up the serene valley views. We wished we had stayed longer.

Northwards and the road becomes rougher before crossing the 12,100ft Shandur Pass, which hosts an annual three-day polo festival. Here on a plateau surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains, teams from Chitral and neighbouring Gilgit-Baltistan battle for supremacy on what feels like the roof of the world. For the rest of the summer it is left to yaks and shepherds.


Polo at the Shandur Pass CREDIT: ALAMY

Down into Gilgit and on to Karimabad, the capital of Hunza. It is difficult to envisage a more dramatically appointed town, with views of 25,551ft Rakaposhi. All this is presided over by the wooden maze of cubby holes and history which is the 700-year-old former home of the rulers of Hunza, Baltit Fort.

On via a trip to the Chinese border in the snowy Khunjerab Pass, stopping on the way to watch scurrying marmots and majestic ibex, and then into Skardu, where each corner bludgeons the senses with a new view of elemental mountain ranges.


Baltit Fort CREDIT: GETTY

We ended at Fairy Meadows, reached by a nervy journey along a jeep track hugging the mountain side and then onto horses to our chalet in the shadow of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest peak on earth.

While foreign tourists were rarely glimpsed, middle-class Pakistani holidaymakers keen to escape the scorching plains of Punjab and Sindh and see another side of their country were commonplace, many with children in tow.


Skardu CREDIT: GETTY

It turned out we had no reason to fear the verdict of a five-year-old. She loved it. Animal spotting, horse riding, exploring forts, and crossing rope bridges were all big hits. Long car journeys between towns may put some parents off, but for those who would rather fly, there are airports in Gilgit, Chitral and Skardu.

The Foreign Office travel advice for some parts of the country is still foreboding. Mr Baig believes it is needlessly cautious now security has improved so rapidly. “It is not realistic I have to say,” he said. “They need to revisit their policies.” But even abiding by the advice, the danger spots can be skirted around.

Pakistan has its problems with poverty, corruption and political turbulence. But it also has another side, which it is keen to show to tourists and which will repay the adventurous, whatever their age.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/d...iday-pakistan/
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Old July 11th, 2019, 05:32 PM   #1773
rayaan
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TMA Bahrain just installed dust bins in Kalam Valley so tourists can throw trash in them


Every year during the summers, people from all walks of life in Pakistan visit the northern areas of Pakistan to enjoy the beautiful and natural scenic locations.

Even though this is very good, the bad side of this tourism is that people always throw their litter in these places and when they finally leave, there is always mounds of garbage left.

Previously, when the issue was raised on social media, everyone said that there is a lack of dustbins and other designated places where people should throw the trash.

Keeping this in mind, the TMA Bahrain has finally installed some garbage bins in the Kalam valley to help tourists throw trash in the right place instead of polluting the beautiful area.












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Old July 11th, 2019, 11:10 PM   #1774
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This is good to see.
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