PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tourism minister Atif Khan on Tuesday said the government had decided to begin a helicopter service in collaboration with the private sector to take tourists to far-flung scenic valleys and tourist destinations in the province in an effort to promote tourism.

“We are holding talks with a company on the Heli Service and start of private flights from Islamabad and La hore to far-off tourist destinations. This will facilitate tourists and save them from the trouble of taking long journeys,” he told reporters here.

Inaugurating a mobile application at Peshawar museum, the minister said the government was also trying to offer public-private partnership to Korea and Japan to set up the Buddhist City at the world heritage site city, Takht Bhai, in Mardan district.

He said the Buddhists would come to and stay at the Buddhist City for worship and tourism.

The Peshawar museum mobile app was developed by a Peshawar-based youths-led company, Kasabgar, and funded by the US Embassy in Pakistan.

Available on app store, it will help people from anywhere in the world search and hear ‘The Story of Buddha’ and look at the Gandhara Civilisation items displayed in a gallery at the Peshawar museum.

The project lead, Shafique Gigyani, and his teammate, Tahira Kaleem, highlighted salient features of the app and said its users could listen to the available information in Urdu, English and Pashto.

“One can easily download the mobile app from app store. This app will make the visit to the museum interactive and more informative. It will also help create understanding of the archaeological artifacts and heritage of this region,” he said.

Director (archaeology and museum) Dr Abdul Samad said the mobile app would help create public awareness of the province’s archaeology and cultural heritage, especially those from far-flung areas like tribal districts, whose archaeological wealth and history was unexplored or unprotected.

“If people will listen to information on their history, archaeology and heritage in their own language on cellphones at home, this will certainly help increase awareness of their protection and preservation,” he said. The senior minister appreciated the digital service and said Peshawar museum was accessible like any other museum in the world though the mobile application.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019