GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid Khan has said that the region has great potential in tourism and information technology sectors.

He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of training workshops for start-ups related to winter and adventure tourism held in the Karakoram International University (KIU) here the other day.

Minister for tourism Raja Nasir Ali Khan, KIU faculty members, officials of tourism department, students and experts attended the workshops organised by the Accelerate Prosperity and Tech Valley.

Mr Khurshid said as most of the population of GB lived in remote areas, providing them access to Internet was important. He said the government was taking all possible steps for promoting information technology, adding special technology zones were being created in the region.

“An information technology department has been set up and an IT board would also be set up soon to provide a conducive environment to local and international companies working in the IT field.

The chief minister said telemedicine and tele-education projects were being launched to improve the public healthcare system. He said all departments in GB were being digitised.

Khalid Khurshid said his government was planning to extend the tourism period in the region throughout the year from the current three to four months.

He said GB had vast opportunities in adventure tourism, and in order to promote winter tourism, ski-traversing was introduced in Deosai last year.

Mr Khurshid said his government had launched a home-stay scheme to boost tourism.

Tourism minister Raja Nasir said the incumbent government was transforming the tourism sector into a self-sustaining and vibrant industry.

KIU Vice-Chancellor Dr Attaullah stressed the importance of setting up incubation centres in educational institutions to instill an entrepreneurial mindset.

Commander Special Communication Organisation Imran Mansoor said technology was vital to cater to the growing needs of the booming entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Ms Sarwat, general manager of a private hotel, gave an insight into the hotel industry’s immense potential to diversify into services that could harness winter and adventure tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2022

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