Tourists from all over the country have started pouring into Kalam valley to celebrate the four-day Swat Summer Festival, which will be begin in Kalam on July 12.
The festival aims to restore and streamline tourism in the region, an organiser told The Express Tribune here on Wednesday. The festival features many attractions for adventure and sports buffs such as paragliding, polo matches, funfair and cultural stalls.
The road leading to the scenic Maho Dand Lake, which was washed away in the 2010 floods has been reconstructed to allow smooth movement. “The best thing this year is the easy access to Maho Dand Lake as it was impossible to drive for up a common vehicle before. Only four-wheelers could get through the bumpy road,” Hidayatullah, a driver, said.
“We regularly come to Kalam as it offers everything — from lush scenery to a serene and calm environment,” said Mrs Ibrahim, a tourist from Gujranwala.
“After the sweltering heat wave in Peshawar, I just feel like coming here more often. But tourists coming up here need to arrange for their own tents, as there is shortage of space, nearly all hotels are filled to capacity,” Deedar Khan, a tourist from Peshawar said.
Locals and visitors, however, are concerned over the placement of additional check points in the region, which they believe might create problems for the tourists.
The five-hour commute from Islamabad to Mingora was turned into six hours for Tauqeer Riaz due to the high number of check posts on the way. “We appeal to the security forces to remove some unnecessary check posts so that tourists can travel smoothly,” Riaz said.
The festival has been organised by the Pakistan Army in collaboration with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2012.