Pakistan has the most attractive and astonishing views to mountains, plateaus and deserts and is a good location for tourism. It has the potential to attract many foreign tourists. As one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, Traveller by Condè Nast, has named Pakistan as one of the world’s top tourist destinations for 2020, Pakistan has started efforts by the Pakistan Tehreek e-Insaf government to promote tourism.
Numerous tourists have created vital jobs for local people in entertainment companies, because of the natural beauty of this mountainous scenery. In addition, alone, the Swat valley -the so-called ‘Switzerland of the East’ -became the hub of 800 hotels. More than 40,000 Pakistani local people worked in hospitality directly.
There are historical sites like Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Taxila where archaeologists from all over the world come to visit Pakistan ‘s majestic historic civilizations. There are valleys like Swat, Hunza, Naran, Kaghan, Murree, Nathia Gali, and Changa Gali that attract tourists from Pakistan and internationally as well. Among them, Kumrat valley is one of the green and amazing mountainous tourist place to visit.
Kumrat valley is in the upper Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The village of Kumrat is located approximately 2 hours away from Thal (usually 45 minutes, but 2 hours because of road conditions). From Islamabad, it is takes around 10 hours to reach Thal bazar. This is one of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s lush and water-rich valleys.
At first, the rest of the country did not know about it but after the visit of the famous cricketer turned politician, Imran Khan, the visitors paid much attention to this valley and that is why thousands of tourists from various parts of the country & internationally visit each summer to Kumrat valley for its cool greenery. The Kumrat Valley is surrounded by green pastures, snow-capped mountains, the Panjkora River, foggy mounds and wooded areas are the key areas of attractions, where the flora and fauna variety lives. It is situated at the back of the Upper Dir Kohistan district of Gabral, Swat Kohistan.
The high Deodar forests situated on level ground on the Panjkora River are one of the features of Kumrat Valley. Along with deodar trees, kumrat valley is famous for trout fish. The trout fish was introduced in Chitral and Kaghan Valley by the British, in the 1920s and were ancestral to the area. Gul Nabi, local fisherman said that after the 2010 floods, there is a decline in trout fish and can hardly be found in the kumrat river, which has affected our business as well. In august 2020, its one kg price was in the range of PKR 2500-3000.
In the village of Thal in the picturesque Kumrat Valley, a historic mosque of wood captures tourists’ attention, calling this an architectural masterpiece. This mosque is located on roadside of the river Kumrat. The villager Jan Faqeer said that the mosque is more than 120 years old, and was built in the 19th century but it was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1950. He further added that the mosque was renovated in 1953.
The main feature of this mosque is that it is 100 % made of expensive wood, Deodar. In the building of the mosque, resident Jan Faqeer said that large wooden pillars were used. The mosque has two floors. Second level gives a stunning view of the rich green fields flowing through the Kumrat River. Muhammad Sulaiman, the mosque’s caretaker, said that for decorating the mosque a competition was arranged among three big families of Thal, with floral designs, patterns and other artworks, the whole work was done on deodar wood, making the mosque unique by its amazing looks.
Thal & Kumrat valley Local hoteliers have expressed great pleasure at the tourist influx and have said that compared to winter, in the summer they receive a great no of tourists. The tourists demanded that to make it more attractive the Kumrat Valley sluggish road need to be repaired as it is extremely in bad condition, which needs government attention on priority level.
The economic, social, community and prosperity effect of tourism cannot be overshadowed in a region. The tourism sector across the universe has been admired as a strong driver of socioeconomic development for its invaluable worth. Today, more and more countries try to position themselves as tourists’ favourite destination. In Pakistan, the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) is ready to fulfil Pakistan’s potential as Pakistan’s next major tourism hub. Pakistan has unparalleled elegance, richness of culture, hospitality, plurality of religions and distinctive food. Feasible exchange of these resources with the globe should assure that our societies profit from a growing tourism industry.
In order to realise Pakistan’s dream of becoming a tourism destination, CPEC being a mega-project of china and Pakistan, can play its part, while connecting major highways, railways and pipelines, with massive infrastructure development projects, integrating different nationalities, and providing the means for mutual engagement, participation and human exchanges. The initiative will also include the expansion of Karakoram Highway, the road between China and Pakistan, which can be a lifeline for tourism growth in the region.