First improve roads, then invite tourists to Chitral

Published on: 24/10/2019 | Comments: 1 comment 

CHITRAL: A tourist visiting Chitral has launched a complaint at the PM’s Citizen Complaint Portal, saying he had visited Chitral with lot of expectations from a tourists point of view but his trip was very uncomfortable and left a bad after taste mainly due to the abject condition of rioads.? According to ‘Sama TV’ report, the person hailing from Punjab swore not to visit the place again.

It may be noted that first time visitors get a rude shock when the rude the Lowari tunnel area by encountering horrible roads, then being stopped at the tunnel without any reason, and then having to travel on very poor tracks called roads specially to the Kalash valleys which are favourite with tourists owing to their ancient and unique culture. .. CN report, 24 Oct 2019

Tourists must learn manners and etiquette

Published on: 11/10/2019 | Comments: No comments 

.. by Prof R.K Baig

In the following lines I dare to bring to the notice of the Chitralis as well as outsiders who come here? as tourists and go to various destinations with friends or all alone or with a guide who is neither a trained one nor knows enough about the geography of these two districts. Pakistani tourists take it for granted as Chitral is a good and safe place to visit and meet the people freely, enter every village without? hesitation and I have seen some tourists with my own eyes eating fruit without asking the owner? which is a very bad practice and disliked by locals. The tourists should travel properly- learn etiquettes of traveling, a bit of pre knowledge of the culture of the valley concerned such as Kalash valleys, Yarkhun valley, Torkho valley in particular. Help and guidance could be sought from locals but intervention or encroachments cannot be condoned. There are shingle roads to all the valleys and are in very poor repair so the tourist must come with a bundle of info about the valley where he intends to travel. Take photographs of beautiful scenery if any but never try to take picture of females be it an old lady or? half idiot. Never try to take photo? offering money. Get enough info about the route, its bad or good aspects and carry the necessary kits.

Recently I have heard a tourist from one of the districts across Lowari pass? who is now on facebook as Arshad Ali and he has started sharing photos of various places of Chitral including some of the peaks which he uploads as authentic and has also the audacity to give name of the peaks. For example he posted a photo of a peak but does not know the name of that particular peak but he has remembered the names of Terich Mir, Nowshaq, Booni Zom etc. and writes under the photo as Booni Zom but it is not that particular peak or writes Nowshaq where he has never gone but under another photo he writes this peak is Nowshaq. All this is a great blunder and this type of disinformation and baseless claims must be avoided. It is a very sensitive time and age of science because of the high technology which is available everywhere and this kind of exchange of wrong info must not be posted without proper investigation. Please don?t spread wrong information about the geography of Chitral and post only the really true photo. Never try to misguide potential tourists. Abide by the ethics of traveling and stick to your itinerary. Don?t violate the rules of standard tourism, follow the rules or learn the rules first and then take to the route. Be a responsible tourist; don?t spread garbage here and there; Take your garbage with you and dispose it of according to the rules of eco tourism. It is a sensitive human activity and should not be abused by untrained, uncultured and irresponsible wanderers. Be a responsible tourist and earn? a credit of good tourist instead of making mess for others especially for your own community to which you belong. Thanks .. Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig, Chitral 11 Nov 2019

Domestic tourists advised to ?behave? whilst visiting Hunza

Published on: 10/06/2019 | Comments: 1 comment 

?.. by Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: With the summer tourism season in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) just around the corner, hotel owners in the scenic Hunza Valley have urged tourists, especially the domestic kind, to ?behave? while visiting the valley.

In this regard, hotel owners in Hunza have issued a code of conduct (CoC), especially for domestic tourists.

?The need for issuing a CoC arose following some incidents which, I should say, were in bad taste,? said Ali Madad on Sunday.

Madad is the president of the Hotel Owners Association in Hunza Valley.

The CoC comes just days before the tourist season starts in a region where, according to government, at least a million domestic tourists visited last year.

?There were some incidents last year when youngsters made ?indecent demands?,? Madad told The Express Tribune, adding angrily that they were not running brothels in the valley.

?Due to such demands, some untoward incidents did take place in the hotels unfortunately,? he added

Domestic tourism has started to flourish in G-B in recent years after the Kaghan-Babusar road was improved and opened for traffic during the summer. It came at a time when international tourism in the region suffered after gunmen dressed as paramilitary personnel killed nine foreign tourists in an unprecedented attack at the base camp of Nanga Parbat in 2013. However, foreigners have started to return since.

More than one million tourists visited northern areas of Pakistan this season

According to the CoC, tourists have been asked to avoid indulging in debates over religion and sects, respecting religious spaces, local culture and values.

In addition, the tourists were asked to refrain from consuming alcohol in the valley since it is banned in the country.

?It is also expected you do not ask the hotel management for alcohol and other things,? reads the code which was drafted after reaching consensus during a recent meeting of hotel managers and owners in Hunza Valley.

Domestic tourists have also been asked not to photograph individuals without first seeking their permission since it was against local traditions and values. Moreover, tourists were asked not to enter residential areas which disturb the routine life of locals.

?The tourists are our guests and certainly they are a source of income for the locals but that shouldn?t come at the price of destroying our local culture and tradition.?

Unlike other tourist destinations, Hunza, particularly the main town of Karimabad, is a congested town. Most of the tourist attractions in the town, the biggest of which is the 800-year-old Baltit Fort, can only be accessed by traversing through the entire town.

Unbeknownst to most tourists, after dusk, the locals come out to celebrate life as a normal neighborhood. They thus consider the presence of tourists around that time an intrusion into their private space.? .. Source


Pakistan Expecting Record Tourists in Summer of 2019

Published on: 21/12/2018 | Comments: No comments 

Amid the restoration of complete peace following a decade-long campaign against terrorism and some positive developments of late, Pakistan is eying a record number of tourists in?the next summer.

The international community and foreign governments? trust in Pakistan?s security situation is growing with each passing day.

This is evident from the British Airways? announcement to resume its operations in Pakistan after a gap of 10 long years.

Before the British Airways? announcement Portugal?decided to drop all travel advisories against traveling to Pakistan.

These developments prompted Finance Minister Asad Umar to predict that the next summer will see a record number?of tourists in Pakistan.

Asad Umar tweeted that since Portugal has dropped all the travel advisories and the British Airways is starting Pakistan flights, a record number of tourists are expected in the next summer.

?Victory against the terrorists bearing fruits to reduce the isolation of Pakistan,? the finance minister further added.

British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan next summer, the carrier announced Tuesday, in a major vote of confidence from a Western airline.

The British carrier, which halted services in 2008 after the deadly Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad, will return with three weekly flights from London?s Heathrow airport to the Pakistani capital.

BA had six weekly flights to the Pakistani capital before the Marriott attack which triggered a major drawdown by embassies and international agencies over safety concerns.

The carrier?s announcement was ?a reflection of the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan? in the years, said British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew in a statement.

?We only fly somewhere when we know it?s safe to do so,? Robert Williams, BA?s head of sales for Asia, told a press conference in Islamabad.

BA said the route ? which will be serviced by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner ? is among four direct long-haul flights being introduced in 2019, along with Pittsburgh and Charleston in the US, and Osaka in Japan. .. Source

Chitral awaits tourists to enjoy its autumn colours

Published on: 03/11/2018 | Comments: No comments 

Chitral valley at the advent of autumn. ? Dawn
Chitral valley at the advent of autumn. ? Dawn

CHITRAL: The autumn colours in different valleys of Chitral offer captivating patterns, but there are no, or very few, tourists to enjoy the yellow, red and golden foliage.

The villages of Booni, Mastuj, Khot, Garam Chashma, Oveer, Terich, Laspur, Awi-Dumadumi, Nogram, Karimabad and scores of other villages are known for their spectacular autumn colours where poplar, chinar, mulberry and apricot trees are in high density, making the yellow colour predominant. The tall chinar trees in abundance in all villages radiate the reddish colour, while leaves of many non-local fruit trees have turned golden to give a dazzling look.

Though the autumn tourism is yet to pick up in Chitral there are certain tourists who regularly visit the district in the fall and spend a week?s time here visiting different villages known for the autumn foliage.

Munir Ahmed, manager of a hotel in the city, said he knew over a dozen families coming to Chitral from different parts of the country every autumn and staying in his hotel. He said many of them had developed a penchant for autumn colours and visited a number of villages across the district.

The Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has yet to take any initiative for marketing the winter beauty of Chitral to attract tourists.

Autumn colours have great significance in local culture, language and literature, and have found frequent descriptions in the folk-lore, poetry and songs.

Known locally as ?chanchhori? (the fall foliage), the season is celebrated in different ways by holding ceremonies while most of the weddings are performed in this season and the women prefer to wear yellow dresses in the season.

Former union council nazim Islam Akbaruddin in Oveer valley, known for its autumn colours, complained that the village was totally obscure from the tourists because of the highly perilous roads leading to the valley.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2018