The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has planned nine mega projects worth Rs 5.120 billion for promotion of tourism, sports, culture and youth development in merged districts of erstwhile Fata during fiscal year 2019-20.
According to senior officials, the provincial government under the Accelerated Implementation Programme (AIP) has decided to establish and develop new tourism destinations in all seven tribal districts to take full advantage of its beautiful mountains, valleys, landscapes, sports, cultural and architectural importance.
To bolster tourism in erstwhile Fata, the government has decided to spend around Rs1,000 million on establishment of tourists destinations in all potential sites in North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai and Kurrum tribal districts that would help generate enormous employment opportunities and alleviate poverty in the hitherto neglected erstwhile Fata.
Tourists’ Information Centres, picnic spots and rest areas would be setup besides promotion of hotel industry to attract foreign and domestic tourists to explore the picturesque areas of Pakistan.
Shawal Valley in North Waziristan has an eye-catching and snow covered natural beauty sites with huge potential of development of a summer tourists resort in future. The government has earmarked Rs400 million for promotion of tourism activities besides holding of festivals in merged districts in current fiscal year.
Likewise, Rs400 million would be spent on promotion and holding of tourism festivals and activities besides Rs120 million for development of tourists services. The government has made special focus to promote and upgrade sports activities besides rehabilitation of existing sports facilities in erstwhile Fata costing Rs1,000 million. Similarly, Rs250 million would be spent on holding of sports events including traditional games.
The official said players of erstwhile Fata had proved their power and skills during recently concluded National Games Peshawar and construction of new playgrounds would produce more players for national and international competitions.
The government has earmarked Rs1,000 million for youth development package and establishment of youth facilities besides Rs600 million for economic uplift of youth.
To promote art and culture in erstwhile Fata, the government has decided to setup art and culture centres in all seven tribal districts. Similarly, Rs250 million would be spent on promotion of cultural activities and Rs100 million on protection and management of archaeological and cultural heritage.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, four major tourists zones with state-of-the-art facilities would be established in Chitral, Swat, Manshera and Dir districts for which KP Tourism Department and Tourism Authority has commenced work to increase revenue of the province besides reducing tourists pressures on existing awesome destinations of Kalam, Malam Jabba in Swat, Kaghan and Naran in Manshera, Nathiagali, Ayubia and Thandyani in Abbottabad districts.
To achieve these projects, assistance and cooperation of international organisations with vast experience in tourism would be sought. The official said survey for identification of areas and sites for establishment of tourists zones are underway in these districts and announcement in this regard would be announced after completion of surveying reports.
The official said five colonial era rest houses at Nathiagali including Governor House, Chief Minister House, Karnak House, Speaker House and IGP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House had already opened for tourists and general public last year where the response of people was overwhelming.
The official said the PTI Government’s visa initiative had attracted a large number of foreign tourists from Sri Lanka, China, South Korea and other countries that visited Peshawar and Swat museums where a rich collection of Buddhism, ancient articles, sculpture, coins, manuscripts, books, paintings of Gandhara civilization, Greco-Buddhist, Persian handicrafts, Mughal and later periods were preserved.
These tourists friendly measures of the government would not only make Pakistan an ideal tourists destination but would generate substantial revenue for the national kitty.