K-P mulls reopening tourism industry
K-P govt chalks out contingency plan
PESHAWAR: The provincial government has prepared a contingency plan and drafted a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the possible reopening of the tourism industry in the province.
This was disclosed during a meeting to review preparations for the upcoming tourism season. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan presided over the meeting.
The chief minister was briefed that an integrated tourism contingency plan has been prepared to make necessary arrangements for the possible re-opening of tourist activities during the upcoming season in the province.
Under the contingency plan, SOPs have been drafted for the industry to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The SOPs will be notified after approval from a joint committee of the health, tourism, relief and planning departments.
The meeting was also briefed about the progress made on the establishment of Integrated Tourist Zones (ITZs) in the province and other development schemes initiated for the promotion of tourism.
Under an emergency plan, Mahmood was told tenders have been floated for the establishment of a tourist facilitation hub, portable toilets and rest areas whereas all relevant departments, commissioners and deputy commissioners have been taken on-board for the implementation of the plan.
Regarding progress on road infrastructure projects leading to and from touristic sites, the meeting was told that under the World Bank assisted KITE project, the feasibility study, detailed engineering design and construction supervision of the 24-kilometre-long Thandiani road expansion project, the 23km Mankyal to Badha Setirai road, 45km Shishikoh to Madaklasht road and the 35km Supat Valley road has been finalised.
Similarly, five different roads with a combined length of 60kms in the Malakand division and nine different roads with a total length of 50kms in the Hazara division have been included in the Annual Development Programme of the provincial government.
The meeting was further informed that four different sites had been identified for the establishment of ITZs in the province, including Ganool in Mansehra, Mankyal in Swat, Madaklasht in Chitral and Thandiani in Abbottabad. An additional six sites have been identified in the Hazara and Malakand divisions for the establishment of ITZs under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
CM Mahmood termed the promotion of tourism as one of the top priorities of his government and said steps are being taken under a well-devised and integrated plan for the purpose. He directed the concerned authorities to ensure timely completion of all projects launched for the uplift of tourism in the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2020.