Zarghun khanaOriginally Posted by ZarghunTourism potential in NWFP: Swat-Kalam - 'a piece of Switzerland'
WEEKEND MAGAZINE (February 17 2007): Pakistan has much to offer in terms of travel and leisure and to properly highlight it for the first time the Tourism Ministry has planned events at such a grand level which would be held throughout the year across the country.
However, some of the main hurdles faced by the Tourism Ministry in achieving their desired results are negative country image abroad, substandard civic infrastructure and lack of a proper marketing strategy.
When it comes to the hidden natural beauties of Pakistan the picturesque North West Frontier Province cannot be ignored. Exceptionally rich in variegated sights for tourists'attraction, 70 percent of Pakistan's tourism lies in this province.
The NWFP is Pakistan's most diverse province, covering an area of over 101,741 square kilometres, including Federally Administrated Tribal Areas 27,220 square kilometres. Apart from its graceful geography, the province owns a rich cultural heritage and possesses enormous potential for development of tourism sector.
Moreover, the gorgeous plains, snow capped high mountains, gushing springs, splendid waterfalls, spellbinding lakes and charming network of rivers are the valuable sources of aesthetic as well as visual beauty for the tourists.
In eco-tourism the province excels in marking some areas as sanctuary for nourishment of certain rare and precious species of animals and birds. The hilly terrain of Swat, Kalam, Naran and Kaghan is known for its beauty and attracts a great many tourists from neighbouring regions and from around the world.
Swat-Kalam is also termed 'a piece of Switzerland' as there are many landscape similarities between it and the mountainous terrain of Switzerland.
The chai-khanas of Peshawar's Old City allow visitors to witness the multicultural inhabitants in a relaxed setting. The Khyber Bazaar, Qissa Khani Bazaar and other parts of Peshawar can remind visitors of a tale from the Arabian Nights.
Secretary Tourism NWFP, Abdul Jalil Khan Swat - Kalam'a pice of Switzerland' informed that provincial government is planning to develop new tourists' spots so as to provide maximum possible choices to the people.
Sheikh Badin is a hill spot situated near Dera Ismail Khan and once properly developed it could prove to be a major attraction for tourists from the adjoining areas of Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Bannu, Tank, Mianwali and Bhakar.
This project would cost Rs 350 million, he disclosed adding the government planned to construct a suitable road to Sheikh Badin besides providing water and electricity facilities.
The project included establishment of 10 room motels, construction of 10 huts, a vast play land and viewing decks at this beautiful hill spot. Secretary Tourism said that Rs 1.8 million has been spent on Sheikh Badin project so far. In order to develop a set-up for utilising the tremendous potential of the province the NWFP government has established Sarhad Tourism Corporation (STC).
The provincial government plans to open five new public parks in various areas of NWFP adding that STC plans to open National Park and Tourism Facilities at Mahudand, Swat. The STC plans to construct 10 Tourism Facilitation Centres in the Province, Bridge on River Kabul at Kund, Nowshera District and Tourist Hostel at Kund Park.
Construction of restaurants in Kund Park, development of Thandiani Summer Resort, Abbottabad, Installation of Chair Lift between Naran and Lake Saifulmalook, Mansehra, Chair Lift Scheme at Dobanda- Zakhana, Upper Dir, Chairlift on River Kabul at Kund (Nowshera) and construction of hotel and playland on STC's park at Behrain, Swat valley are some of the other projects of the STC.
Managing Director Sarhad Tourism Corporation, Khoshdil Khan told APP that the 10 events planned by the Tourism Ministry for the year 2007 in NWFP include National Ski Championship (February 10-15 at Malam Jabba Swat), Chitral and Kalash Festival (May 11-15), Shogran Festival (June 22-29), Shandur Polo Festival (July 6-10), International Mountain Bike Race (September 7-9), World Tourism Day Celebration (September 27 at Provincial Capitals), Karakoram Car Rally (September 20-October 19), A Walk through historic time (Nov1-13 From Nawagali NWFP to Turbat Balochistan) and Pakistan Cultural Train Safari (Dec1-20 from Peshawar to Karachi).
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