GILGIT-BALTISTAN is known for its mesmerising beauty and diversification, but sadly little has been done over the years to boost its tourism industry. Things seem to be changing in the right direction these days as online visa facility has been started to encourage foreign tourists in the country. Flight operations from Lahore and Karachi to Gilgit and Skardu have also been resumed, and there are chances that international flights to the region might commence from July. Once the tourism industry picks up and the region sees an influx of tourists, job opportunities will sprout up for the locals.
GB’s mighty mountains, breathtaking glaciers and eye-catching lakes make it a perfect tourist attraction. K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, Sarfaranga desert, the highest in the world, and Deosai, the second-highest plateau, make it more attractive and scenic.
Some majestic forts, such as Altit, Baltit, Shigar and Khaplu, are the symbols of its past glory. The region offers a range of adventurous activities for tourists, such as mountaineering, desert safari, water rafting, skiing, trophy-hunting, trekking and snow games.
The government should promote tourism in GB through media, and upgrade Skardu airport as an all-weather facility. Besides, local tourists need to be educated about cleanliness and fines must be imposed for littering.
Ghulam Muhammad Balti
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021