By Naveel Ahmed
ISLAMABAD, Feb 06 (APP): Stunning and snowy tourist resorts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are back on the radar of adventurous tourists with thousands thronging snow festivals and winter sports competitions being held at its snow-capped mountains and valleys in the ongoing winter season.
It is, indeed, vindication of the world’s stance that has firm belief in Pakistan’s tourism potential and foresees the sector as a key factor in the country’s economic growth and development of its people in years to come.
Pakistan was declared as highly potential adventure destination of the current decade by British Backpacker Society in 2019, and here at the beginning of 2021, its astonishing peaks and snowy slopes have taken a center stage in the world’s tourism arena, especially after a group of Nepalese climbers scaled its K2 in the winter for the very first time.
Tourism of Pakistan did not come in the limelight for the first time as there are many instances in the recent past when its mesmerizing resorts were ranked among the world’s top travel destinations by the international journals such as Condé Nast Traveller and the New York Times.
Credit for this does not only go to our soldiers, who have ensured lasting peace in the area by rendering numerous sacrifices, but also to the present government which has been taking inclusive steps to market its tourism potential at international level in an effective manner.
A series of winter sports competitions and snow festivals have been arranged at snowy resorts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that received tremendous response from across the globe, said Head of Tourism Corporation of KP Junaid Khan while confirming APP that a large number of climbers, skiers, snowboarders and other athletes visited its bewitching tourist spots this season in the quest of adventurism.
He added that the tourist resorts of KP such as Naraan, Kaghan, Galyat, Kalam and Malam Jabba were abuzz with winter sports activities such as skiing, snowboarding and ice hockey in the current season.
The TCKP, he said, had organized a grand winter sports festival at over 8,000 foot-high ski resort of Malam Jabba from January 22 to 24. A number of athletes from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Belgium took part in the snowboarding championship, which was also part of the festival, he added.
He said the festival, which also featured alpine skiing and skiing for the athletes of less than 15 year, would send a positive message about Pakistan across the globe.
The TCKP head said tourists activities in other parts of KP was also gaining momentum due to relentless efforts of the departments concerned for tourism promotion in the country in line with vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He said the government’s efforts for tourism promotion were yielding positive results as tourist influx to the prominent tourist destination of KP had increased manifold.
The TCKP had played key role in attracting local and foreign tourists, he added.
Junaid said the province was not only blessed with beautiful landscapes and spectacular sceneries but also abundant with minerals and other natural resources. Fresh water lakes, snow-capped peaks, lush green meadows and valleys were main features of this region, he added.
Likewise, a three-day snow festival was held at Galyat recently that attracted more than 20,000 tourists from across the world.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information and Higher Education Kamran Khan Bangash appreciated the Galyat Development Authority for arranging the snow festival.
He said the initiative would not only promote the tourism in the area but also helped create job opportunities for the locals in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Kamran Bangash said new tourist spots were being developed in the province to boost tourism activities in the area. The sector would be a game changer for the country development, he added.
He said over 700,000 tourists had visited the KP during the last two months.
A three-day winter gala – Hindukush Snow Sports Festival – was concluded just a couple of days ago with thrilling snow sports and traditional activities in the scenic Madaklasht valley in Lower Chitral district of KP.
The gala featured skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, snow trekking and snow sculptures and cartoons competitions. Over 500 local and foreign tourists took part in the gala.
Tourism experts are appreciating the government’s efforts for tourism promotion and expressed the hope that the snow festivals would not only project the true image of Pakistan at international level but also boost the economic activities in the province, which would eventually lead to the economic development.