GILGIT: Poor road infrastructure, lack of accommodation and communication facilities is troubling domestic and foreign tourists who are flocking to Gilgit-Baltistan during the peak season, particularly after the Eidul Fitr.
Tourists face difficulties while approaching the tourist points due to bad condition of roads, absence of internet and accommodation facilities, complained Shakeel Ahmed, a tour operator, while talking to Dawn here on Friday.
Private hotels are full to capacity and the new arrivals complain about non-availability of rooms and high rates charged. The filling stations are also running out of petrol and diesel due to rush of vehicles.
Sardar Hussain, a pump owner, said they could not provide fuel to such an increasing number of vehicles these days.
He said usually they sold about 2,000 to 3,000 litres of oil daily, but currently the need had jumped to 30,000 litres per day. Irshad Haqqani, a local, said the Gilgit-Naltar road was in bad shape, troubling not only the locals but also the tourists.
He said tourists approaching the famous tourist point in Naltar valley, which is some 25 kilometres from Gilgit town, faced hardship while travelling on the road.
Besides, he said the road was also occasionally blocked due to landslides.
Safdar Hussain, another local, demanded of the government to take all possible steps for providing facilities to tourists to make their journey safe.
Rehmat, an international tour operator, said a 100-kilometre stretch of road from Shigar district to Askoli near K2 base camp was in a shambles, troubling foreign expedition groups. Arif Hussain, a tourist, said the region had no facility like 3G and 4G internet services and electricity outages had also made their journey uncomfortable.
Separately, a joint checkpost was inaugurated on Friday at the entry point of GBat Goner Farm in Chilas, the district headquarters of Diamer, by GB home secretary Jawad Akram.
On the occasion, he said personnel of Pak Army, Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts, police and Frontier Constabulary would be deputed at the checkpost.
He also visited the tourist guide centre at zero point in Chilas, and said every effort would be made to make their travel to GB safe and memorable.
Meanwhile, a meeting chaired by Gilgit Deputy Commissioner Azeemullah on Friday decided to depute fourgovernment employees at the tourist facilitation centre at the entry point of Gilgit town to provide information to tourists about the region.
According to a press release, officials of tourism department and other stakeholders were in attendance.
Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2018