GILGIT: A three-day international conference on mountaineering, ecotourism and hospitality will begin in Karimabad area of Hunza valley on Thursday.

The event will be organised by the Karakoram International University at Karimabad in Hunza.

President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi will be the chief guest at the concluding ceremony of the conference to be attended by over 250 experts and scholars from within the country and abroad.

Vice-Chancellor of the Karakoram International University Dr Attaullah Shah told a presser here in Tuesday that GB was a unique place in the world for having glaciers in large numbers, three highest mountain ranges, including Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Himalayas, and the Indus, the largest river in Pakistan.

He said the region’s people were highly vulnerable to climate change, especially floods and other natural disasters.

“Tourism strengthens ecology and natural beauty of a region. Though we cannot stop tourists from coming here, we have to teach them not to harm our environment,” he said.

The VC said the conference was meant to create awareness among residents and people from other parts of the country and policymakers about the importance of sustainable ecotourism.

“It is high time to teach and train tourists about not damaging the fragile and sensitive environment of our region,” he said.

The VC said tourism was the major source of income in many countries, which had promoted ecotourism to protect their natural beauty and environment.

The VC said experts would deliver lectures and read out research papers about ecotourism, mountaineering and hospitality at the conference, where people from different walks of life, including students, experts, policymakers, politicians and civil society activists would be in attendance.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2019