The scopes of tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority (KP CTA) to fully focus on the promotion of tourism activities in the province adding that all the ongoing initiatives and activities should be completed at the earliest to realize the full advantages of the tourism potential in the province and to achieve the goal behind the establishment of the authority in its real sense. The Chief Minister issued these directives while chairing the 3rd meeting of the Board of Directors of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority held on Sunday.

The Chief Minister also directed concrete steps to make the various PTDC units functional in different districts of the province so that these units can be utilized for the facilitation of tourists during the current season. According to reports, the meeting further approved the estimated expenditures and human resources for opening three PTDC motels in Swat and making the selected PTDC units operational in other parts of the province.

All mighty Allah has blessed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with breath-taking beauty pristine valleys, crystal clear lakes, natural forests, landmark resorts, and historic ancient heritages of Gandhara civilization spread over across the province, while Pashtun culture and traditional hospitality further boost the colors and attractions of this scenic beauty many folds. There are famous tourist spots in Peshawar, Chitral, Swat, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Balakot, Waziristan, Khyber, and Shangla districts.

The KP government has introduced significant reforms in the Tourism Sector of the province in the last few years and has constituted KP Cultural and Tourism Authority (KP CTA) through the merger of Pakistan Tourism Development Cooperation (PTDC) and others provincial Tourism infrastructure in the province in a bid to boost tourism industry through coordinated efforts under public-private partnership. The KP CTA has an 11-members independent board of directors comprising provincial ministers of relevant ministries along with three members from the private Tourism industry in the province.

The KP CTA has taken several initiatives to promote Tourism including repair and maintenance of Tourism sites, provision of facilities for tourists, construction of motels, the establishment of an online helpline 1422, and an emergency response service along with an information desk to inform tourists about weather conditions, law and order situation as well as about recreational, cultural and tourism facilities available in a certain area. The KP government has also constituted a dedicated Police Force for the protection of tourists, Tourism facilities, and guidance of local and international travelers in the tourist hubs.

In fact, there is tremendous potential for religious, archaeological, and ecotourism in the province after the eradication of terrorism and the successful restoration of peace in the country. The provincial government should ramp up its collaboration with the local Tourism industry and also invite ambitious overseas Pakistanis for investment, publicity, and tour sponsorship of foreign tourists abroad. The provincial government has approved specific legislation regarding smooth and safe conduct of visits, provision of maximum facilities, and joy to the local and foreign travelers, however, there is a dire need for maintenance of discipline, price control, cleanliness as well as enforcement social ethics by the administration and local visitors to provide a peaceful and family environment to the visitors at public spots. The KP government is hopeful of bringing a pivotal change in the Tourism industry in the province, however, time will illustrate the worthiness of its endeavors.