ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Worldwide coronavirus travel bans, exploration of new tourist destinations and infrastructure development have boosted Pakistan’s domestic tourism, with millions of local visitors thronging to the country’s scenic north and northwest this summer.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, over 5.5 million tourists, mostly locals, visited the majestic mountains, lush-green plateaus, and picturesque valleys in northern Gilgit-Baltistan, which borders China, and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, which borders Afghanistan, during the tourist season.
According to Latifur Rehman Khan, a spokesman for the KP tourism department, almost 4 million visitors visited the popular tourist spots of Swat, Chitral, Nathiagali Abbottabad, Kaghan, and Naran in Mansehra from May to September.
This year, the beautiful Swat valley, often known as Pakistan’s Switzerland, was the most popular tourist destination, with over 1.5 million visitors.
Khan told Anadolu Agency that infrastructure improvement at tourist locations has resulted in a substantial growth in domestic tourism, with numerous projects underway to provide amenities for tourists that meet international standards.
During the summer season, more than 1.5 million tourists, mostly locals, visited Gilgit-Baltistan, a 30 percent increase over the previous year’s numbers, according to Raja Nasir Khan, the region’s Minister for Tourism.
“Our tourist season is still ongoing. The autumn and winter seasons are ahead, and we hope the number of tourists by the end of this year will be double than the yesteryear,” Khan told Anadolu Agency.