Despite having a gigantic coastline spread over 1,046 kilometres, Pakistan is seldom discussed for its beaches or beach tourism. One of the reasons for this is that the successive governments and the private sector have made no efforts to cash in on the vast coastline by enhancing its charm.
The beaches in Karachi — barring a few — are strewn with litter. Although the Balochistan coast is known for its cleanliness, we overlook the fact that just a body of water along a sandy coast will not catch the eye of many. In other tourist destinations, beaches offer a range of amenities and activities that attract people to them. Although several beaches in Karachi and Balochistan have huts, there are no restaurants or cafes to cater to the visitors. Also, typical island activities like cruising and scuba diving are rare and there are usually no proper services for these activities. Other services such as bathing and changing rooms are not available either. There is no sight of upscale beach resorts and theme parks that can rival those in other countries.
There is also a need to ease restrictions on tourists and be more accepting. Whilst we should uphold our cultural values and norms, we must offer some freedom to foreign tourists so that they do not feel pressured or regressed. Otherwise, they will most likely have a negative impression of Pakistan and not want to visit again. The government should consider revamping our beaches and extending the tourism budget to the coastline. This will bring considerable benefits for the local areas as well as the country at large.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2022.