Ten-fold increase in foreign tourists for Lahore Walled City

Published January 2, 2016
Members of a Japanese delegation capture rare moments during their visit to Lahore Fort on Friday. — APP
Members of a Japanese delegation capture rare moments during their visit to Lahore Fort on Friday. — APP

LAHORE: At least 51,647 tourists, including 2,350 foreigners, visited the Royal Trail inside Delhi Gate and other parts of the Lahore Walled City during 2015.

“A marked increase of nine to ten-fold of foreign tourists to the city has been recorded during the last four to five years,” said Shahid Nadeem, the Director Administration of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA).

The tourists visited there by foot and Rangeela Rickshaw and also availed themselves of the Tonga Service, according to a spokesperson of the WCLA.

The package-I for the restoration of several buildings and streets from Delhi gate to Purani Kotwali Chowk was completed in which the façade and infrastructure improvements of the Royal Trail were done.

“Almost 850 properties and 57 streets have been rehabilitated besides laying of the underground sewerage and electricity systems.

The work on package-2, from Chowk Kotwali to Masti Gate, was also started in 2015. Similar improvements will be made in the package-2 as was done in package-1. The total cost of package-2 is estimated at Rs720 million,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The 17th century Royal Bath was also discovered, conserved and inaugurated in the same year. Since its opening, around 20,000 of the total 51,647 tourists visited there by year-end.

The Royal Norwegian Embassy funded Rs40.5 million for the conservation of the Royal Bath. The PC-1 for Masjid Wazir Khan was also prepared and sent to the government for approval.

The total cost of the PC-1 has been estimated at Rs50.33 million. The north wall of the Masjid Wazir Khan was conserved with the funding of Royal Norwegian Embassy in 2015 while the conservation of Chowk Wazir Khan has begun with the US Ambassador’s fund.

The conservation and documentation of the picture wall of the Lahore Fort was also started in 2015 with the funds provided by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

The PC-1 for the Lahore Fort amounting to Rs840 million was prepared and sent to the government for further action and approval.

The WCLA has started the Rangeela Rickshaw and Tonga service for the promotion of tourism. Three photo walks, Jashn-i-Shahi Guzargah, Wekh Lahore and heritage festivals were also held in 2015.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2016

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