PESHAWAR: The tourism department has finalised master plan and feasibility studies for first four integrated tourism zones (ITZs) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa located in Malakand and Hazara divisions.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was on Thursday briefed about the master plan and feasibility studies for the proposed ITZs, which include Ghanool in Manshera, Thandiyani in Abbottbabd, Mankiyal in Swat and Madaklash in Chitral.

A statement issued here said that the master plan would soon be presented to World Bank for implementation.

Details available with Dawn show that Ghanool ITZ would be established on 480-kanal, Mankiyal on 754-kanal, Madaklasht on 540-kanal whereas Thandyani ITZ would be set up on 640-kanal piece of land.

Project to create 16,000 direct and indirect jobs

According to documents the ITZs are expected to create 16,000 direct and indirect job opportunities and attract investment worth $2.8 billion.

The documents stated that land assessment of three sites including Ghanool, Makyal and Madaklash was in process after imposition of section IV while at Thandayni where the land was owned by Galiyat Development Authority (GDA) no acquisition was required.

After land assessment, these sites will be notified as ITZs by Provincial Tourism Strategy Board. In addition, requests for proposals and bidding documents will be finalised for attracting investments in parallel.

The documents said that ITZ Mankyal would be designed as integrated health and wellness destination.

Thandiyani ITZ’s proximity to major cities and towns makes it ideal as a tourism ‘honeypot’ for domestic families and groups during weekends and public holidays.

The documents said that ITZ Madaklasht was positioned as a stepping stone to the destinations in the northern region, targeting long term international visitors, adventurers and backpackers. Based on the technical findings, Madaklasht has strong potential to be developed for special interest tourism such as winter sport and non-consumptive wildlife tourism.

The statement said that the meeting decided to present the ITZ projects in the upcoming Dubai Expo 2020 to attract foreign investment.

The major components of the project include roads, pathways, tracks, water supply, solid waste management, stable supply of electricity and infrastructure development.

Talking on this occasion, the chief minister said that there was a huge potential for promotion of tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that government, in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, was working under a well-planned strategy to develop tourism sector as a full fledge industry.

He termed the completion of master plan for the ITZs an important development.

He said that with the establishment of the ITZs, tourism sector of the province would be developed on modern and international standards.

Mr Khan said that government was taking result-oriented steps to create employment opportunities for local people and strengthen the provincial economy by promoting tourism activities.

He said that as a result of the government’s efforts, around 2.7 million local and foreign tourists visited the tourist spots of the province during the current season resulting in various business activities to the tune of Rs66 billion.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2021

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