PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has finalized Summer Plan 2021 for holding various activities including sports events and cultural festivals to promote tourism activities and attract tourists to the province.
The Summer Plan 2021 was approved during a meeting held here the other day with KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair, said an official handout issued here on Sunday.
The meeting reviewed progress on various initiatives taken by the provincial government to boost tourism activities in the province. Besides Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bukhari, the meeting was attended by Secretary Tourism Abid Majeed, PTDC MD Intikhab Alam, KP Tourism and Culture Authority MD Junaid Khan and other relevant quarters.
The activities reflected in the summer plan include Dera Jaat Festival, Tour de Khyber Cycling Race, Mountain Bike Rally, Qaqlasht Festival, Chelum Josht Festival, Kurram Festival, Hazara Musical Festival, Shandor Polo Festival, Naran Festival, 4x4 Trans Himalayan Rally and Kailash Ochau Festival.
These activities will be held between March and August this year for which the Tourism, Sports and Culture Department is giving final touches to arrangements and preparations. These activities are expected to attract a large number of domestic and foreign tourists and necessary steps are being taken to ensure maximum facilitation to the tourists.
Briefing the meeting about progress on various initiative / projects for the promotion of tourism in the province, it was informed that geo-mapping and profiling of all tourist destinations in the province had been completed and put on Google Maps for the convenience of domestic and foreign tourists.
Similarly, websites and mobile apps have been developed for providing online details of hotels, rest houses, camping pods, and other essential services and facilities in tourist destinations adding that now all types of tourist information are available to the tourists online.
Moreover, online-booking and payment facilities for government rest houses have also been extended to the tourists. Similarly, a Tourist Facilitation Hub with 24/7 helpline has also been established for the convenience of tourists, and tourists can get any kind of help, service and information by using helpline number 1422, it was informed.
It was further informed that progress on the task to identify and develop 10 potential tourists’ spots/destinations in the province was as per the given timelines, and added that In this regard contract has been awarded for feasibility and master planning which would be completed by July this year.
Similarly, progress is being made to establish Integrated Tourism Zones in the province with the assistance of World Bank, and Thandiani Abbottabad and Mankial Swat have been considered as priority projects for the establishment of Integrated Tourism Zones adding that master plans for these two projects would be delivered by the end of May this year.
The meeting was further informed that under the Federal Public Sector Development Program, work is underway on the construction of tourist resorts at five different tourist destinations in the province including Takht-e-Suleman, Garam Chashma, Sheikh Badin, Sholozan and Takht Bhai, PC-1 of the project has been approved by the competent forum and administrative approval to this effect has also been issued.
It was further told that six different waterfalls have also been identified in the province to be developed into tourist spots including Jaruga Swat, Saji Kot Abbottabad, Umbrella Abbottabad, Nori Haripur, Chajian Haripur and Lamchar Upper Dir, and work on the same is expected to be completed by the end of June this year.
Participants of the meeting were also briefed about the progress on Kumrat Cable Car, Mahudhand Lake, Hund Water Theme Park, Nowshera Motor Sports Arena, Ayubia Chairlift, Buddha Corridor, setting up camping pods in tourists destinations, provision of tourist facilities on dams and various other projects as well.
Expressing satisfaction on the overall progress made so far on these initiatives/projects, the chief minister directed the concerned authorities to take necessary steps to ensure timely completion of these projects.
He agreed with the summer plan prepared for the tourism activities during the upcoming summer, he directed the high ups of tourism department to include Kumrat and Bin Shahi festivals in the plan as well further directing them to complete all the preparations and arrangements well in time to ensure the successful holding of all these festivals.
The chair termed tourism sector as one of the key priority areas of his government and said that the incumbent provincial government was taking effective measures as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran khan to make the province a hub of tourism activities with the aim to provide employment opportunities to the local people and to project the soft image of the province at international level.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bukhari highly lauded the efforts of the provincial government to promote tourism and stressed the need to focus on Eco Tourism and to preserve the natural beauty of tourist destinations in the province.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021