The coronavirus pandemic inflicted Rs10 billion in losses on tourism industry in the province.
This was disclosed by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Tourism Department Spokesperson Latif-ur-Rehman on Saturday.
Rehman said K-P, which once charmed thousands of local and foreign tourists, took the hardest hit of the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions when several businesses in province were left paralysed amid pandemic scare. The ratio of foreign and local tourists has fallen which also left thousands of people associated with the tourism industry jobless, he informed.
The spokesperson added that following decline in coronavirus cases, at least 0.1 million tourist people visited different tourist spots in the province. Tourism industry was now recovering gradually from the losses, he added.
The official further said the government has been cognizant of the situation and is planning adequate measures to save the local tourism industry.
World Tourism Day today
The provincial government will join the global community to celebrate World Tourism Day today (Sunday). The World Tourism Day is being marked on September 27 every year across the world.
K-P Culture and Tourism Authority (K-PCTA) has planned two colourful events in Swat Valley and Khanpur Dam.
The K-PCTA said in a statement on Saturday that it will take about 200 families would to Khanpur Dam for several tourism activities.
The tourists would be provided with transport facility besides a promotional buffet package.
The families would also experience adventure tourism to beat the waves during boat trip and rafting in the lake.
Zip-lining, air-gun shooting, swimming, wake tubing, jetski ride and traditional music and foods are also part of the joyful excursion.
The K-PCTA is also arranging air balloon and RC plane shows for the tourists and magical show for the children to mark the World Tourism Day in a befitting manner.
The statement said the department has also planned Swat Air festival in the second week of next month to boost tourism and celebrate the World Tourism Day.
The air festival will have paragliding, hang-gliding, paramotor flying, ultralight flying, microlight flying, drone flying, aeromodelling and other activities.
The K-PCTA has also planned ‘Rang de Galiyat’ a separate event to kick start tourism activities in Hazara Division. The festival will showcase painting, bonfire, live music, live BBQ and traditional cuisines.
Awareness drive through posters, pamphlets and signboards about the tourism activities in the 10 districts of the province has also been launched.
Installation of machinery for cleanliness and establishment of Rescue 1122 stations in Takhtbhai, Galiyat, Thandiani, Kumrat, Shogran and Kalash are also on the cards under the KITE project, it was informed.
The K-PCTA said that it was an opportunity to promote the potential of tourism to create jobs and opportunities.
The World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on September 27 to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.
The United Nation World Tourism organisation (UNWTO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of Tourism and Rural Development”.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2020.