Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Mohammad Ali has announced the government plans to restore the tourism potential of Kumrat Valley in Upper Dir.
Speaking at a news conference in Upper Dir on Saturday, he vowed to include the valley within a feasibility report for the province and said plans were under way to boost tourism in the region.
“The people of Kumrat had made this demand,” he said. “They wanted the valley to be adjusted in a feasibility report so its lost glory could be restored. Residents want to see Kumrat Valley as the popular tourist spot it was in 1974.”
According to Ali, the roads leading to the valley are already under construction. “The infrastructure (roads) will be improved so more people would be able to visit,” he added.
The lost world
The valley offers a treasure trove of sprawling meadows, azure streams, lush green trees and the region’s signature – a cool breeze. It is dotted with magnificent sights which once attracted a large number of tourists who would visit the area to find momentary reprieve from the cares of the world.
However, the local tourism industry experienced countless setbacks. Many believe if the government’s efforts are successful, Kumrat will be among the leading tourist spots in the country.
On the cards
Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune efforts were being made to provide facilities which are at par with international standards to ensure the steady flow of tourists in
During the first phase of the plan, infrastructure will be improved and proper security arrangements will be put in place.
The provincial government has said it has allocated money to develop tourism sites like Upper Dir, Kalam, Kalash Valley in Chitral, Swat, Shangla and Abbottabad.
According to the white paper, the current development budget for sports, tourism, archaeology, culture and youth affairs amounts to 1% of the Annual Development Programme.There is no separate allocation mentioned for tourism in the ADP – sports and tourism collectively get Rs1.33 billion for 54 projects of which 23 are new.
Within the local government budget of Rs17.77 billion, the “uplift of rural roads in Upper and Lower Dir” has been mentioned in the paper. However, in the absence of an annual budget statement (made available to the public), it is hard to nail specifics of any project.
According to insiders, improvements in the hospitality sector will also encourage tourism in the region.
“The revenue stream of hotels is mostly dependent on tourism,” said a local. “If adequate facilities are provided by hotels, more tourists will visit the valley.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2015.