Tourists rejoice as weather turns pleasant after heavy rains in Galiyat, Swat

THANDYANI: A tourist enjoying pleasant weather from a camping pod after heavy rainfall here.

Arrived with baggage of food, fruits and tents for camping at the picturesque Thandyani, Riazul Haq’s family, a former PST teacher, was overjoyed after visiting their dream tourists’ resort during pleasant rainy weather.
Enjoying national and cultural songs of ‘Dil Dil Pakistan, Sohni Dharti and Monga da Khyber Zalmi’ along with his children and other family members on his music system, Riazul Haq was busy in hammering and fixing tents’ bolts at a suitable place of Thandyani to enjoy pleasant change in the weather on weekened without any charge.
Amid disappearing sun behind clouds hovering over Thandyani hills amid blossom of seasonal, Riaz’s wife who belonged to Nowshera, was preparing green tea on gas stove after warming up the Peshawari’s famous Chappli Kabab, Paye and Polao dishes they brought along and making it ready on ‘Dastarkhwans’ to serve her family members on Sunday.
“I have planned Galiyat’s tour few years ago but postponed it due to travel restrictions owing to COVID-19 pandemic and today dream of my family to watch its mesmerising natural beauty came true,” Riaz told APP. “I was stunned to see the natural beauty and cool fresh air of Thandyani and advised families to come here in large numbers due to its better road connectivity.”
Wearing traditional Peshawari Chappal, the 58-year-old tourist said that he had brought tents and other stuff along as the hotel room and food cost was very high for a common man at Galiyat, adding the rent of a normal two-bedroom per night in Thandyani and Nathiyagali was approximately Rs8,000 to Rs12,000 that was beyond of hiring capacity of middle class.
He said that he had selected Thandiyani as first camping site as the tourists can see the snow-covered Pir Panjal mountain range of Kashmir and lush green terrains of Kaghan and Kohistan besides snow-clad ranges of Swat and Chitral from Thandyani top having 2,750 meters height of the above sea level, which are taking nature lovers and adventure sports enthusiasts over the moon.
Like Riaz Khan, hundreds of thousand families and tourists arrived at northern Khyber Pakthunkhwa especially Malakand and Hazara division including Galiyat and Thandyani to explore its waterfalls, gushing rivers, Saiful Malook, Ansoo, Dudipath and Mahoodhand lakes and colonial era tracks besides enjoying the expansive trout fish and water boating in River Kunhar at Kaghan and Khanpur dam at Haripur.
“Despite recent floods and torrential rains in Khyber Pakthunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab districts, the response of tourists, adventurers and adventure sportsmen in Malakand and Hazara during Eid holidays was impressive,” Saad Khan, the spokesman of Cultural and Tourism Authority, Government of KP said.
He said about 130,915 tourists has visited Malakand and Hazara divisions during three days’ vacation of Eidul Azha. Out of these tourists influx, he said that 80 foreign tourists also arrived in these scenic divisions.
Dir Upper has attracted 18,820 tourists, 18,300 tourists by Malam Jabba Swat, 57,800 by Galiyat including Thandyani and Nathiagali, 6,100 by Chitral Lower including Kaslah valley and 29,850 tourists by Kaghan and Naran including Saiful Malook and Ansoo lakes in Manshera district. He said as many as 72,343 tourists including 71 foreign tourists had visited these tourist areas on July 12.
Israr Ahmad, Sales and Marketing Manager, Swat’s Seerna hotel said domestic tourists’ response to Swat during eid days was comparatively low than last year due to floods and heavy rains in some districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
However, he added that tourists families from other cities including Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore have visited Swat in large numbers during Eid days.
“Tourism will not grow with full potential unless we promote sustainable and planned tourism as per international practice,” said Project Director, KP Integrated Tourism Development Project, Tauseef Khalid while talking to APP.
To promote sustainable tourism, he said four Integrated Tourism Zones (ITZ) would be developed at Mankiyal Swat, Thandyani Abbottabad, Ganol Manshera and Madaklasht Lower Chitral.
He said these ITZs would be constructed with a loan grant of USD 70 million of the World Bank, and that its feasibility studies and master planning was in final stages and practical work would launch soon after completion of all codel formalities.
He said ITZs Thandyani and Mankiyal would be connected with Swat and Hazara motorways through link roads that would open up entire Malakand and Hazara for tourists and make Pakistan a hub of international tourism.
Khalid said that 44 memorandum of understanding worth USD 8 billion were signed between international firms and different departments of KP government during Dubai Expo 2022.
To promote skiing sports, Saad Khan said the government has taken a principle decision to establish ski resorts at Kaghan, Chitral and Swat.
He said four new hill stations including one each in Chitral and Abbottabad besides two in Kaghan would be established.
The spokesman said construction of four colonial era tracks between Thandyani-Nathiagali having 8,200 feet height, Thandyani-Biringali track, Dagri Bangal-Meera Jan-Nathiagali track and Kaghan-Mahmnoor trak starting from Singkayari to Kund Bangla and onward to Shaheed Pani Nadai Bangla to Musa Ka Musllaha were in pipeline.
He said internationally waterfalls was a big source of attraction of tourists and the government has decided to develop Lamchar, Sajkot, Noori, Chajjan Haripur, Jarogo Swat, Lanchar Dir and Umbrella Abbottabad waterfall on modern lines to bolster ecotourism.
Jarogo Abshar, Sulatar Swat, Lashkargas Broghal and Surlaspur Shandur in Upper Chitral, Kumrat Dir Upper, Kalam, Lilowani and Alpuri Shangla, Samani top Hangu/Orakzai , Laram top and Bin Shahi in Lower Dir were selected for establishment of new camping pods, he informed.
Besides construction of the theme park at Hundi Swabi, he said federal and KP government policies have helped improve Pakistan’s international place from 89 to 83 in the international travel and tourism development index, which was a great honour for the country.