Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


How can we save the tourism industry?


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Tourism has a huge potential in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa where its development has not received the priority it deserves. - Illustration by Khalida Haq
Tourism has a huge potential in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa where its development has not received the priority it deserves. - Illustration by Khalida Haq
As terrorism has increased manifold over the last few years, tourism in Pakistan has suffered a massive blow (amongst all the other terrible consequences of militancy and violence). Pakistan’s most beautiful terrain up north in the country boasts scenic landscapes, daunting peaks and great weather in the summer.

All of these tourist-friendly attractions also keep afloat employment in the region, of millions of people who run hotels, serve as tour guides, own small restaurants, and so on.

These are the millions who’ve lost out with increased levels of violence all over Pakistan, and specifically in the northwest. Things came to a head last week, when, during the peak mountaineering/tourist season, nine foreign tourists were massacred, ostensibly by the Taliban.

There is no doubt that this has caused a massive drop in both holiday makers and more serious-minded mountaineers coming to the region. Despite the fact that some brave trekkers have decided to brave both the dangers of nature and of severe security threats, the reality is that many consider what happened last week the death knell of Pakistan’s once well-established tourism industry.

Considering how much of the northern areas depend on tourism to boost the local economy, what do you think can be done to protect the tourism industry in Pakistan? What guarantees can be given to tourists braving the various threats to keep the various people in Gilgit-Baltistan, etc. employed? How can tourism be marketed to encourage local and foreign holiday makers to come to the country? invites its readers to express their views.

Comments (34) Closed

Ahmed Mustafa Kanjoo Jul 01, 2013 06:40pm

How can we save the tourism or get rid of many more similar problems? Very simple: we must confess our blunders first, and once the blunders are known, we can than sort them out also. All those factors aka

vani Jul 01, 2013 06:49pm

When your life is in danger in Pakistan then how can you invite tourists to die there? Take care of your life first and forget about truism.

Bilal Jul 01, 2013 07:42pm

Only way I can guess of is to start "war-tourism" packages targeting high-end adventure seekers. Our Army can provide guns and live ammunition to these 'tourists' and take them on week long trips to insurgency hit areas, where military operations are going on

akram Jul 01, 2013 11:04pm

the tourists need to be provided armed guards when touring. it kind of means they are not going to see the genuine Pakistan, but certainly in tourist resorts on the beach or in mountains. Closed resorts with security would help a great deal to keep tourist levels going.

it is possible to do, if the will is there to do it.

Donald H Jul 02, 2013 01:26am

The only way tourists will be safe in Pakistan is when the terrorists who abuse Islam are vanquished out of existence. Pakistan would be so beautiful without them killing people and blowing up buildings and roads.

Amit Jul 02, 2013 01:46am

@Ahmed Mustafa Kanjoo: People like you are one in a million in Pakistan and even if Allah comes and tells the truth people of your country will not trust and believe. There is all garbage under the carpet and Pakistanis believe in pointing everyone! May god give wisdom to everyone.

vallimohammed lakhani Jul 02, 2013 03:50am


Agha Ata Jul 02, 2013 04:34am

How can we save the tourism industry? Are you serious? OK. here is the solution: Stop all terrorism, and eliminate the Taliban faction that is made to kill foreigners. Can you do that? And how come you didn't know that?

Christopher Jul 02, 2013 05:02am

I'm not sure if Pakistan gets Aid from the rest of the world ( I imagine yes ) but the amount you get from America is in jeopardy . Can you afford to scare off tourists ? Yes the problems facing Pakistan a greater than this but it is another crack in the wall. Neither the Government or the Military seems willing or able to keep your economic life line together .Will the radical elements be any better ?

Naved Jul 02, 2013 07:26am

We do not need Tourism business anymore in Pakistan. We need the government to look for alternates, like maybe Power or Energy or Sports or Infrastructure or Railways sector.... Sick n tired of depending on Tourist industry and then a terror event destroying it at the end. The people move away from this industry and evolve into better professions that are stable

kashif Jul 02, 2013 09:54am

Again nonsense and filler news from Dawn...there are hundreds of issues to be addressed ...and you are running a Form for an industry something which actually died decades ago. It is an important industry but this is not something we should talk about. Law and order situation in country would not allow even locals to access those areas.Our Integrity and existence is at stake on this planet and you are talking about tourism. Therefore, law n order is the top priority at all level in this country. Not to mention we all are responsible for all this law n order situation in Pakistan... our media is useless....

Ahmed Ali Jul 02, 2013 09:19pm

Something does not add up - With such a powerful military why is Pakistan only fighting it's internal enemy half-heartedly ? It is like they hoping that the problems facing Pakistan will "just" disappear. How long before international cricket return to Pakistan ? Never, I would say.

Satyameva Jayate Jul 03, 2013 04:40am

Forget saving Tourism. Worry about reclaiming North Waziristan and other sparsely populated tough terrains back from the terrorists. West-Pakistan has already been sub-divided. Unlike in 1971, the Rest of the World will help Pakistan win back the lost territories.

Veena Mallick Jul 03, 2013 08:17am

@Bilal: ha ha hilarious...

illawarrior Jul 03, 2013 09:19am

@akram: No way! Who in their right mind wants to go to a tourist destination where armed guards are necessary?? The answer lies in ensuring a level of safety where such things are not required.

jaffri Jul 03, 2013 10:01am

I have travelled to all the seven continents with my family. The only decisive factor in my decision to chose a country to go was personal security

Afzal Khan Jul 03, 2013 10:08am

@kashif: You obviously understand nothing ... tourism has declined but did not die decades ago. It still supports many many areas and people. Also the fact that all is connected .. so the integrity you speak of is reflected in tourism as much as it is in the carpet industry or the food industry or any other business .. dont rubbish the tourism industry by not talking about it ... you obviously have never had to earn a living from the tourism industry. Remember that no issue is useless and we must talk about all things ... they all add up to create the hydra we are facing.

Rajab Ali Jul 03, 2013 10:22am

Unity, Faith, Discipline, the golden winning ingredients, that Qaid-e-Azam did give to the people of Pakistan were not owned by the nation but strictly owned by criminals and anti-social elements and naturally they are winning. The day things are reversed, every thing will change and that doesn't look possible even in distant future when it would be too late.

Nadia Jul 03, 2013 02:03pm

I am shocked by the responses ridiculing this topic. I think it is a worthwhile topic.

Many foreigners still want to come to Pakistan as tourists or students doing research and internships. The international attention makes people curious and students doing masters and phds at places like Harvard want to understand the country better. Many Pakistanis also have foreign friends who want to visit.

The obstacle is visas. Pakistan does not want tourism. When a British friend went to the Pakistani Embassy for a tourist visa, they treated him suspiciously. Pakistan is closing its doors to the outside world, and regular citizen exchange. No visas, no tourism, just isolation.

fazalpai Jul 03, 2013 04:05pm

tourism industry exist in pakistan ?? no joke please !

fazalpaii Jul 03, 2013 04:16pm

with due respect Mr. bilal , tourism has nothing to do with warlike strategic measures.

Nasir Saeed Jul 03, 2013 04:33pm

I being a Pakistani do not travel to the northern areas because of the same fear! how shaeful if you cannot even roam about freely in your own country!

Haider Jul 03, 2013 07:22pm

There is no need to do any thing. What ever you do now nobody will come to these places.

mohsin hsssan Jul 03, 2013 09:09pm

Obviously recent killing of nine foreigners recently held in pakistan, had a great affect on tourism industry of Pakistan. As far as the question, how can we protect the tourism industry in Pakistan is consider. Well the answer is Pakistan need to build confidence among tourists. There is no doubt that northern areas of Pakistan are really beautiful but despite of terror no one visits there. In order to promote tourism industry of Pakistan government must need to take some serious steps. providing security to tourists. Should be main piority.

Ahmed Mustafa Kanjoo Jul 03, 2013 10:44pm

@Amit Isn

Susnato Mukherjee Jul 03, 2013 11:02pm

@Ahmed Mustafa Kanjoo I agree with the first comment by Ahmed Mustafa Kanjoo that those who are liable to provide security, if they can't secure the residents and visitors alike, they got to answer.

MO0/\/ Jul 03, 2013 11:13pm

we the Pakistani's ist give safe and low price tours of Pakistani national's to these natural beauties of Pakistan. I am sure we will be the best to compete with rest.

Nasir Jamal Khan Jul 04, 2013 02:01am

Tourism is just another Industry like many others in an economy. It's only a part of the whole system. As it appears, the whole system is sick and all other industries are not exactly thriving. So one need to look at what causes the whole to degenerate and come up with the cure for that. Tourism will progress along with the rest.

G.A. Jul 04, 2013 02:30am

@Ahmed Ali: 'Huge' doesnt always mean 'powerful'.

Vishnu Dutta Jul 04, 2013 02:37am

Stop killing tourists. simple as that. and stop treating every white man as raymond davis

Mir Jul 04, 2013 07:58am

@vani: I agree with you100%

Muhammad Bilal Jul 04, 2013 08:33am

Unlike Afzal I tend to agree with kashif. He has said it right only with bitter bluntness. Some of us are underestimating the direness of the situation. When a body is dying the most important thing is to rescue the heart and lungs. At times in this process patients end up with broken ribs. It would be redundant to point to a skin rash at that time which can be addressed after the pulse is regained. Unfortunately we as a nation are losing our pulse.

Irad Jul 04, 2013 01:46pm

When your country is in the Headline news Only for the wrong news then Tourism becomes the first casualty. We have been wanting to visit Egypt, which has a far advanced tourism industry with well developed infra-structure than Pakistan or India, but last Two years Egypt has been in news only for gathering political & social storms. Who can risk their lives to visit a country, for seeing one of the seven wonders of the world - Pyramids?

Swan Jul 04, 2013 06:33pm

@Ahmed Mustafa Kanjoo: I agree with your views on how tourism in Pakistan can be saved. Those responsible to provide security, if they are not up to their job, they must go home. Pakistan and India are high on my list of places I want to visit but after the massacre of tourists, of course I have serious doubts. If tourism in Pakistan can be saved and security is insured, I'll pay my visit probably within a few months