Around 700,000 tourists including local and foreign had visited the scenic mountainous region of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) in over the last three months.
According to Gilgit-Baltistan Tourism Minister Raja Nasir Ali Khan “The significant surge in tourists’ footfall in G-B has helped the sector revive, which was affected last year due to coronavirus related travel curbs,” he told the media on the phone.
The minister, who is also heads the portfolios of sports, culture, archaeology, and youth affairs, said that tourism has come back in G-B where so far up to 700,000 local and foreign tourists thronged during the ongoing summer season to enjoy its mesmerizing weather and eye-catching mountainous terrain.
The statistics shared by the minister was of the last three months, as tourism season started this year after Eidul Fitr when the restrictions on the sector lifted, provided that the anti-coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be observed at all tourist destinations.
The NCOC has recently declared vaccination certificates mandatory for hotel bookings for tourists visiting G-B, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“We are allowing any tourist to G-B and there is no plan for imposing a ban on tourism,” said Raja Nasir who asserted that implementation of anti-coronavirus SOPs in the area was being ensured to keep the virus at bay.
He said “The G-B government, in collaboration with the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), was taking multiple initiatives to boost tourism by improving air access to the area. The PIA was carrying four to five flights from various cities to GB every week. The negotiations were under way with Nepal and Gulf countries to start one international flight to the area as an experiment,”
He said the short-term strategy was opted to improve infrastructure in the area, “Road infrastructure is being upgraded,” he said, “Incomplete road projects left by the previous government is being completed on war-footing to improve tourists’ access to the new and unexplored tourist sites in G-B.”