PESHAWAR: Over 400,000 tourists visited Swat and tens of thousands others turned up at other districts in the Malakand and Hazara divisions during the Eid holidays, officials told The News on Saturday.
The government made efforts to provide facilities to the tourists at the hill-stations in Malakand and Hazara divisions where Tourist Police have been launched and teams of other relevant departments deployed to facilitate the visitors.
“Apart from providing security at all the tourist points, police have been deployed since the first day of Eid to ensure smooth flow of traffic after receiving a huge number of tourists in Malakand division,” Regional Police Officer Mohammad Saeed Wazir told The News.
He added that around 197,000 vehicles bringing tourists entered Malakand division since the first day of Eidul Fitr. Swat received the highest number of tourists.
“From the first day of Eid, roughly 400,000 to 500,000 tourists have entered Swat to reach Kalam, Madyan, Bahrain, Malam Jabba and other scenic places,” District Police Officer of Swat Ashfaq Anwar, told The News. The official said a special traffic management system had been planned to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
“We have launched the Tourist Police that apart from managing traffic facilitated and helped the tourists. The visitors are being given special pamphlets and guidance by the Swat Police. All our senior and junior officials are on the road since Eid day,” said DPO Ashfaq Anwar. A large number of families from all over the country thronged Kalam, Madyan, Bahrain and Malam Jabba in Swat as well as Kumrat in Upper Dir and some scenic valleys in Chitral.
Tourists also flocked to Naran, Kaghan, Nathiagali, Siri Paye and other tourist destinations in Hazara division where police along with officials of other departments are on the road since Eid day to facilitate the guests. The cops are also helping the tourists to repair broken cars and bikes as well as getting food and water.
The access to Hazara has been made easy after the newly constructed Motorway from Hassanabdal while the under construction Swat Expressway was also opened for light vehicles during the Eid holidays. Thousands of vehicles entered Malakand division via the 81 kilometres long Swat Expressway.
The movement of traffic was slow while driving to tourist resorts, including Kalam, Malam Jabba and Miandam due to large number of vehicles and poor condition of the roads at various places.
Apart from the police and district administration, teams of the health department, civil defense as well as Rescue 1122 remained on the road in the tourist stations to provide treatment to the large number of visitors in case of an emergency.
The spokesman for the Rescue 1122, Bilal Ahmad Faizi said technicians in ambulances of 1122 have been providing emergency treatment to people at tourist stations in Malakand and Hazara divisions since the Eid day.
The government has opened a number of rest-houses in the two divisions where tourists are being provided better accommodation at reasonable rates.
The tourists complained that the local hotels were charging high rates at all the tourist stations after receiving such a large number of guests from all over the country.
The locals argue that the summer season is the only time to earn some money which they use throughout the year to support their families.