ISLAMABAD: The Culture and Tourism Authority of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a Rs300 million agreement to implement the third phase of the Ecotourism and Camping Village project in five areas of the province.
Officials insist that in addition to increasing livelihood opportunities for the local youth, the initiative would provide tourists with an opportunity to partake in adventure tourism and experience the scenic beauty of Pakistan.
Moreover, promoting ecotourism also promotes responsible travel to natural areas, while preserving and respecting the local environment and heritage.
The initiative is the continuation of two phases of the projects since 2017, where the UNDP Pakistan and the Tourism Department have already established six camping sites at various locations across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and an additional 4 sites are expected to be completed by June 2023.
Each site has ten modern, state-of-the-art camping pods with attached washrooms and common kitchen facilities that can accommodate 26 tourists.
The agreement of the third phase of the project was signed between the UNDP Resident Representative, Knut Ostby and Project Director, Culture and Tourism Authority, Mohammad Ali Syed, at Sor Laspur, Upper Chitral on Friday where the recently completed camping village under the second phase of the project was handed over to the CTA, Khalid Zaman, Deputy Commissioner, Upper Chitral and local community members were also present at the event.
“This facility at Sor Laspur will provide tourists with excellent lodging facilities to enjoy the landscape and will also serve as a base for hiking/trekking trips in the region. We appreciate UNDP’s efforts in efficiently executing this project and its timely handover,” said CTA project director Mohammad Ali Syed.
A top official of the UNDP said it was encouraging to see the community’s response and government’s ownership for this initiative.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to promote ecotourism and local livelihoods in the province,” he said.
The project is planned to start immediately, and the sites are targeted to be completed by Sept 2024.
Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2023