Tourists, adventurers flock to Nathiagali

K-P hill stations offer respite from sizzling heat gripping Pakistan


APP July 01, 2022

NATHIAGALI:

Known for their mesmerising natural beauty, landscapes and waterfalls, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's (K-P) northern areas, including Nathiagali, are attracting a considerable influx of tourists and adventure sports enthusiasts fleeing the scorching heat in the rest of the country to enjoy the pleasant weather in the north.

Nathiagali, Ayubia, Khanspur, Harnoi, Bagnotar in Abbottabad, while Naran, Kaghan, Lake Saiful Malook and Babusar Top in Manshera, Kalam, Madyain and Malam Jabba in Swat, Kumrat in Upper Dir and the Chitral districts are flooded with tourists.

"I came from Nowshera district to spend few days in cool weather of my favourite hill station of Nathiagali, where the sun plays hide and seek behind clouds," said Qaiser Khan, a resident of Wapda Town, Nowshera while talking to APP.

"I have visited almost all tourist resorts of Pakistan, but the splendid natural beauty of Nathiagali has impressed me a lot," he said, adding that it was his third trip to this hill station of Pakistan.

Qaiser said that the free ride offered at the Ayubia chairlift spot has doubled his joy.

To facilitate tourists, the government has taken a number of pro-tourism measures by constructing roads to open up all scenic areas of K-P besides reducing load on existing hill stations, said Culture and Tourism Authority General Manager Muhammad Ali Syed while talking to APP.

Besides construction of hotels and new roads in hilly areas of K-P, he said the government has completed geo-mapping and profiling of all tourist areas and put it on Google Maps besides preparing mobile applications for online booking in hotels, rest houses and camping pods. Four integrated tourism zones (ITZs) would be developed at Mankiyal Swat, Thandyani Abbottabad, Ganol Manshera and Madakhast Lower Chitral to promote sustainable ecotourism and adventure sports.

These ITZs would be constructed with financial assistance of a $70 million grant from the World Bank, and feasibility studies and master planning are in final stages. These ITZs would be linked with Hazara and Swat Motorways through approach roads.

Around 44 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth $8 billion were signed between different departments of K-P government and international firms during Dubai Expo 2022.

Under the public sector development programme, tourist resorts at Takhte Suleman, Garam Chashma, Sheikh Badin, Shalozan and Takht Bahi were approved besides development of waterfalls in different districts.

Muhammad Ali Syed said that waterfalls of Lamchar, Sajkot, Noori, Chajjian Haripur, Jarogo Swat, Lanchar Dir and Umbrella Abbottabad would be developed to promote ecotourism.

He said the government has decided to establish picnic points at the premises of Kundal Dam Swabi, Jalozai Dam Nowshera, Tanda Dam Kohat, Chatri Dam Haripur and Jhangra Dam Haripur.

Besides approval of bus service for tourism purposes and establishment of 14km long cable car service between Upper Dir and Chitral Lower with an estimated cost of Rs32 billion, nurseries of flowers and ornamental plants would be established at Kaghan and Naran to promote horticulture and fruits farming.

About 182 constables of the newly formed tourism police were deployed in Swat, Chitral, Mansehra and Abbottabad.

The development of four historical colonial era tracks were in pipelines, including Thandyani-Nathiagali track, Thandyani-Biringali track, Dagri Bangla-Meera Jani-Nathiagali track and Kaghan- Mahnoor track starting from Shinkyari to Kund Bangla and onward to Shaheed Pani-Nadi Bangla to Musa Ka Musallah.

Sports theme park would be constructed on 400-kanal land at Hund in Swabi, for which an MoU has already been signed. Rescue 1122 stations were set up at Ayubia, Thandiyani, Kewai, Kalash and Kumrat.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2022.

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