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800 Adventure Tourists Apply to Visit Pakistan

August 17, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The administration anticipates welcoming at least 500 mountaineers and trekkers this summer after receiving over 800 applications from adventure visitors from around the world.

“22 applicants have received licences to travel to the northern regions for adventure tourism thus far. To encourage more foreign visitors to travel to Pakistan for hiking and mountaineering sports, the processing time for visas must be quick, according to a source in the Gilgit-Baltistan tourism office.

A top official claims that during a meeting on Saturday, the issue of a delay in the processing time for visas was brought up and shared with all parties involved. It was highlighted that the processing time for visas should not exceed 10 days as opposed to one to two months, during which time travellers may lose interest or alter their vacation plans and migrate to more alluring locations in other nations.

The official stated that all applications are sent to security agencies for clearance before issuing visas to trekkers and climbers wishing to travel to the northern regions.

It was quite disappointing that the first international flight to Gilgit-Baltistan was cancelled on May 13 for an unspecified reason.

Speaking to Dawn, Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) Secretary Karrar Haidri said, “We were looking forward to GB becoming the hub of international tourist destination.” He added that the Skardu airport’s upgrade to international standards to handle the first international flight would be a significant step forward for the promotion of tourism in Pakistan.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had asked all concerned agencies and institutions to finish/provide all essential preparations and formalities in order to conduct the first-ever international flight to the lovely metropolis of snow-capped peaks and high altitude desert.

According to Mr. Haidri, Pakistan must be as welcoming to international visitors as Nepal, where an aircraft carrying tourists lands every ten minutes.

Mohammad Umar, joint secretary of the Pakistan Tour Operators Association, asked that the time it takes to process visas for visitors from other countries should not exceed four weeks. He lamented that “applications are frequently left unanswered for weeks.”

He also advocated against harassing foreign visitors for no-objection certificates (NOCs) so they can travel throughout the entire nation once they had been granted visas.

“In many well-known locations, tourists can travel freely and worry-free without worrying about bureaucratic obstacles. There shouldn’t be any further obstacles when a visa is granted, especially once the visitor has arrived, he said.

However, Mr. Umar claimed that things are much better than in previous years. Even if Pakistan was marketed as the loveliest and best tourist destination in the world, blessed with breathtaking natural beauty, there is always space for development. If foreign tourists are to be drawn to Pakistan, the visa process needs to be made simpler than it was previously, he said.

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