The three years performance of the Khyber Pakthunkhwa government for promotion of tourism sector in the province where an Integrated tourism zones (ITZ) costing Rs17,000 million, camping pods and construction of new roads worth Rs12.51 billion to give an easy access to new tourists’ places have successfully been achieved.
Latifur Rehman, Spokesman of Tourism, Sports and Archeology Department told APP on Friday that the first-ever KP Culture and Tourism Development Authority has been set up by the PTI led Government to promote tourism in Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
He said the Authority intends to open camping pod sites to tourists and the general public through the private sector in accordance with KP Government Rest Houses and Tourism Properties (Development, Management and Regularization) Act 2020. The authority plans to lease out camping pods sites on ‘as is where is basis’ for a period of ten years to promote ecotourism in Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
An integrated tourism zone has been established with an estimated cost of Rs17,000 million in KP. The Provincial Government has developed a master plan for establishment of four integrated tourism zones at Mankial Swat, Thandyani Abbottabad, Ganol Manshera and Madaklasht Lower Chitral. Besides establishment of five camping pods sites, he said tourists’ facilitation and information centres have been set up for facilitation of tourists in the province.
To reduce tourists load on existing scenic sites including Kalam, Nathia Gali, Kumrat, Kaghan, Naran and other scenic places, the spokesman said new roads worth Rs12.51 billion have been constructed to make new tourism sites accessible especially in Malakand and Hazara divisions. He said a new tourism valley ‘Ganol’ with mesmerizing landscapes and natural beauty was being introduced.
To strengthen roads’ connectivity to bolster tourism and alleviation of poverty, Kalam-Kumrat Road, Aywon-Kalash, Bamborat and Rambor Valley and Chitral-Garam Cheshma Road would be constructed to open up the entire Malakand division for tourists and adventure sports lovers.
Similarly, Rs 4,812.700 million would be spent on roads’ development in tourists’ areas of Malakand division, Rs4,655.134 million on Hazara’s access roads, Rs3044.553 million for construction of approach road to Sheikh Badin DI Khan’s tourist resort and Rs 2,200 million for development of tourists spots while Jeepable tracks costing Rs500 million in touristic’ areas would also be constructed for which a substantial amount were allocated in the current fiscal year budget.
New tracks including Thandyani-Nathiagali (40 km) track covering Bringali, Dagri Bangla, Miranjai Top having over 150 years-old trees and Thandyani-Tastu Bangla constructed in 1902 during the colonial era would be developed. Mahnoor-Biyari Forest-Anso Lake-Saiful Malook lake covering in three days and two nights and Shinkyari Top-Kand Bangla-Shaheed Pani, Nadi Bangla and Mosamasla carrying 40kms length would also be constructed along with provision of facilities of rest houses, washrooms and tours guides.
Feasibility studies of the 14 kilometers long Kumrat Dir Upper-Madakhast Chitral Cable Car project has been completed. The proposed cost of the cable car project is Rs32 billion that would connect Kumrat Valley Dir Upper with Madaklasht valley of Lower Chitral and on completion would attract around 10 million tourists every year to Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
KP government has decided to set up camping pods in 10 new scenic places and search for five new suitable sites are in progress in the province. Consultancy is in progress for making ski resorts in different places besides establishment of Culture and Tourism Authority’s offices at divisional level and handing over of 167 rest houses on lease.
Tourism survey in all seven tribal districts of merged areas is being conducted for establishment of camping pods, picnic spots, making tourism areas accessible through roads connectivity, rest houses, tourism and cultural activities, arranging festivals and others many schemes that after completion would make erstwhile Fata a hub of tourism.
The spokesman said tourists rescue centers were set up for protection of lives and properties of tourists and tourists’ helpline 1422 for information and guidance of tourists and adventure sports lovers.
The colonial era building of Peshawar Museum, the lone Gandhara Art Museum in the world, has been completely renovated and preserved, attracting tourists in large numbers.
Exterior and interior structure besides architectural designs of Peshawar Museum has been completely rehabilitated and conserved by the experts without compromising on its ancient architecture, he concluded.