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KP Plans Projects to Boost Tourism

October 17, 2023

PESHAWAR: In order to strengthen the province’s tourist sector, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) administration has chosen to create a specialized body.

The province government also has new projects planned to encourage religious tourism specifically, offering tour operators in the region high hopes for a commercial boom.

Atif Khan, the provincial minister of tourism, told Arab News that “the proposed Tourism Authority would include representatives from the tourism, communication, and works and local government departments, and all these departments would work jointly.”

Khan went on to say that effective departmental coordination for tourism marketing would be ensured by the new autonomous entity.

He continued, “A lot of time is currently wasted under the existing mechanism when authorities approach another department for the provision of some other facility or the construction of a road to a certain area.”

According to Khan, the KP government also intends to start a Rs 500 million programme to advance religious tourism. “This would also involve facilities for historical sites that Buddhists regard as holy,” he stated.

Under this religious tourism project, new hotels will also be opened to accommodate foreign visitors.

Since several of the monuments are revered by Buddhist monks, the South Korean embassy in Islamabad has stated that it is eager to work on the heritage sites in KP, according to Khan.

He continued, “Takht Bhai relics are also among the world heritage sites.”

“The Bughdada area in the Mardan district has a centuries-old Hindu temple, but there are no accommodations for those who would like to stay there,” Khan went on.

“We also have the famous Takht Bhai archaeological complex, which is considered sacred by Buddhist monks worldwide,” local tour operator Shamsher Khan told Arab News. “However, there isn’t a hotel for foreigners to stay in the area.”

Another tour operator, Nazir Ahmed, stated, “The establishment of a tourism authority is a positive step because KP has much potential for tourism compared with other areas of the country, and we need to focus more on it.”

In the words of Nawazud Din, research officer of the KP Directorate of Archaeology and Museums: “The Gor Gutri complex in Peshawar is sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. The complex dates back over 400 years.

He continued by saying that Elum Mountain, a sacred site for both Buddhists and Hindus, in the Buner area is where the directorate is also attempting to establish a park.

Foreign visitors, particularly Buddhists, used to visit the ancient sites in KP before to the 9/11 attacks. But many left because of the terrorist wave that swept across this area, and as a result, their younger generation is not aware that there are such sites in KP, according to Din.

“We intend to encourage religious tourism by means of printed books, online portals, and exhibitions about such sites in KP,” Din continued.

The government ought to revitalize every community’s religious sites, according to Gurpal Singh, an elder in the Peshawar Sikh community.

“Now that the peace has returned, the government ought to grant visas to foreign nationals and make it easier for them to travel to the nation. He went on, “Tourists should also be allowed entry to Sikh temples, or Gurdwaras.

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