Tourism can pull country out of financial crisis: Imran

Published June 29, 2021
VISITORS cross a bridge in Naran valley on Monday after the provincial government lifted the ban on tourists imposed due to Covid-19.—AFP
VISITORS cross a bridge in Naran valley on Monday after the provincial government lifted the ban on tourists imposed due to Covid-19.—AFP

MANSEHRA: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said tourism offers excellent potential for boosting the country’s revenue and employment opportunities and it is his vision to keep Pakistan clean and green to attract tourists from across the world to this heavenly land.

“Switzerland is half the size of our northern areas and has no match with the natural beauty of our landscape, yet it earns $80 billion from tourism whereas our total export is of $25 billion,” the prime minister said while addressing a gathering of Tiger Force volunteers in Naran, the commercial hub of Kaghan valley, on Monday.

Mr Khan, who spoke for hardly 11 minutes amid tight security measures put in place by the law enforcement agencies in and around the tourist resort, remained entirely focused on the tourism potential that according to him could pull this country out of the current financial challenges.

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“I have visited Switzerland and Austria and could never compare their beauty with our heavenly lands which are more beautiful and exotic in nature. But I would admire their cleanliness and true enforcement of laws, as nobody there could break the laws for his personal gain,” he said.

The prime minister told the locals to pay due attention and care to all the tourist spots for the prosperity and development of the country. “Insha Allah, we will earn such big money and people will get employment with a rise in tourism that they would not need to leave these areas looking for jobs,” said Mr Khan.

He advised his party leaders elected to the assemblies from the area to protect this land and trees, as they would ultimately enjoy maximum benefits when their area would progress because of tourism.

The prime minister said the Kaghan valley had suffered deforestation in the past but he was happy over the tree plantation campaign that restored the beauty of the areas. “The younger people sitting in front of us are our future and we have to leave such a Pakistan behind for them so that the coming generations would admire our efforts in preserving nature and soothing the environment,” he said.

Pointing toward youngsters, Mr Khan said their predecessors didn’t do justice with Pakistan. They did not protect trees and destroyed jungles, but he was pleased that the divisional administration was adopting measures for their protection, he said. “I have toured the world but have not witnessed such a beauty that has been bestowed by Allah upon this Kaghan valley,” he said.

He directed the administration to adopt tough measures to protect forests and ensure cleanliness in Kaghan valley. For this purpose, he said, the administration could hire locals as guards. Mr Khan said: “As trout fish is rapidly becoming an endangered species, the administration should take measures for its preservation.”

Mr Khan also released trout fish in the Kunhar River during his daylong visit to area where he launched emergency response services for tourists and planted trees along the river bank. He also distributed 550,000 biodegradable bags and motorbikes among the community rangers.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2021

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