The best of Sindh is now a click away

Private groups using social media to promote tour packages


Mudaser Kazi December 15, 2015
A view of a temple at Nagarparkar, inside of the Ranikot Fort, and a pond near Ranikot in Gorakh Hills. PHOTOS: TRAVELINDUS

KARACHI:


When outsiders think of Sindh, all they see is Karachi. Refreshingly, local tour guides have taken upon the task to change that image. Their modus operandi: Facebook.


Even though the responsibility of promoting tourism rests with the provincial government, their lack of interest for various reasons has left a vacuum that is being filled by the private sector.



Travel enthusiasts residing in Karachi, and even outside the metropolis, now have the opportunity to tour the myriad scenic spots of Sindh via various private tours operating through Facebook.

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Tourist localities such as Gorakh Hills, Tharparkar, Kund Malir Beach, Ranikot Fort and Manchar Lake are marketed on the social networking site. Travel groups offer various kinds of tours; from just a day trip to those involving several nights' stay.

Saad Hassan, a civil engineer and frequent traveller, visited Nagarparkar and Kund Malir Beach by signing up with Travelindus. Hassan came back satisfied with what such groups are offering Karachiites. "Travelling with such groups is a far better experience [than going alone or without a tour guide] as all the famous spots along one's route are not missed; and above all time is saved as the organisers have already explored the places before and know the areas inside out," he said.



Hassan explained that his colleague went to Hingol National Park on his own but failed to see as many sites. He added that security issues, which otherwise force travellers to rethink their plans to the province's interior, are not a concern when travelling with such groups. We only have to enjoy the journey and landscapes along the route, he boasted.

The tours can cost anything from Rs3,000 to Rs9,000 per person, depending on the number of days involved. The packages cover the costs of transportation, lodging, meals and snacks, shared Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, the managing partner at Travelindus. "Our aim is to promote destinations across Sindh which travel enthusiasts of Karachi have not heard of." Compared to tourist spots in the Northern areas of the country, which require several days of travelling, such areas in Sindh can be explored in a couple of days, he added.

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Lashari explained that they use Facebook to motivate people to travel and at the same time inform them about different destinations across the province. Dr Sitara Soomro, another travelling enthusiast, has travelled across Sindh from Kund Malir Beach to Tharparkar and Gorakh with such groups. She appreciated the work of these tour operators and said their travel guides are professional and ensure that travellers come back richer from the experience. Travel photographer Danial Shah said "these Facebook communities are playing a positive role and with such activities the local tourism industry will see a rise which will ultimately benefit the local communities of Sindh."

http://i1.tribune.com.pk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Temple-at-Nagarparkar-copy.jpg

Rover Adventure Club, another travelling group operating through Facebook, offers tour packages to Kund Malir Beach, Gorakh Hills and Khanpur Dam (in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa). "Most of the places in Northern areas become inaccessible this time of the year, whereas winter is the peak travelling season for Sindh," said Babar Saeed, one of the group's owners.

When contacted, Sindh Minister of Culture and Tourism Sharmila Faruqi said the Sindh Tourism Development Corporation too offers travel packages to Mohenjo Daro, Gorakh Hills, Keenjhar Lake and Makli Necropolis but said the effort requires a good media awareness campaign to reach out to the larger public. However, till the time the government gets it act together vis-à-vis promoting tourism, it seems this business will continue to boom for the private sector.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th,  2015.

COMMENTS (1)

Random Passerby | 5 years ago | Reply Kund Malir beach is in Baluchistan, not Sindh!
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