Shandur Polo festival

Polo is a sport played in the central Asia some 600BC ago. It was initially partly sport and partly training of war with 100 men either side. Later on it was considered to be the sports played by nobility and military persons. The modern polo game is traced back to 1859 by British military officers. It is called as “Sports of the kings” and Shandur, one of the highest polo ground located in the north of Pakistan and is famous for Polo festival.

Shandur polo festival is a national wide sport festival that is being organized by Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has always been the focus point of national as well as international tourists.

The current festival is going to held on 7th to 9th July. A large influx of tourists is expected for this festival.  In order for the smooth run of the event, several points are being suggested for all the chitralis especially for the district administration considering upon which can portrait a positive image of Chitral on national as well as on international platform.

The 1st thing I want to focus is the attitude of the people towards the tourists.

The people of Chitral are famous for their peaceful nature and hospitality; yet again we need to educate our people to have a welcoming attitude to the incoming tourists.

This role can be played by academia in schools, colleges as well as in universities where by the students as well as locals need to be educated by conducting seminar and workshops.

Change in attitude is subjected to two way interaction. The locals need to interact with the tourists in such a way that they should stall the local traditions foods, Dry fruits and other attractive local made goods. Restaurants should be at least up the level of the national tourist.

This will in turn revenue to the local people and behavior of local people can be altered.

Secondly we need to have Tourist Facilitation centers where by the representatives of District administration as well as local guides to be there for updating and facilitating the guests.

The centers should be at least equipped with first aid and refreshment facilities for both males and females. Pakistan army is doing a good job in this regards still the district government need to take it on a serious note. It will not only help and update the tourists but can also be source of revenue for the locals.

The last and important point is to preserve the environment. We normally observe garbage and plastic bags and other disposable items from tourists’ destinations. In order to preserve our destination, there need to launch a cleanliness campaign. In this regard the incoming tourists need to be educated as well as provided with certain measure for waste dumping.

The security officials in the entry points of the district are trained to communicate with tourists in such a welcoming note where by the message is clear. Banners, stickers and other pamphlets to be distributed to the tourists.

Dumping spots are needed in various spots along with the road sides with clear sign boards so that the guests can dump the disposable wastes.

We had already been recognized by our peaceful nature, rich culture and hospitality. Once the above suggestions are being incorporated not only it would add to our recognition but also sketch a positive image of Chitral in national as well as international platform.

Zafar ul haq