Prime Minister Imran Khan, recently stated that the government, due to untiring efforts, has made special plans to boost the regional development of Gilgit-Baltistan and also announced an economic package for regional infrastructural development. The historic package to open a new vista of development and progress in the area.
The Government attention towards region is a timely move to uplift regional tourism structure. Because unique feature of this region is that it possesses world’s highest mountain ranges, Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindukash, five out of fourteen highest peaks of the world including K2, the second highest, and world’s largest non-polar glaciers. Gilgit-Baltistan has natural diversity, scenic beauty and distinguished cultural communities living in beautiful alpine valleys. The rivers, lakes, fresh water streams and glaciers add significance to the region’s landscape. Every year, many renowned mountaineers land in Gilgit-Baltistan to climb the summits. Moreover, due to the presence of largest non-polar glaciers, trekking routes and numerous other peaks, many foreign groups visit the region for trekking and hiking purpose. These expeditions and groups are great source of income for the government as well as for the local communities and markets.
However, region lacks infrastructure required for tourism. Unfortunately, the concept of tourism infrastructure in G-B is associated with constructing roads, opening shops and making few hotels. Though construction of roads, shops and hotels are required for tourism but they are generally not built according to the weather conditions and environment of the areas where they are built. In most cases they destroy the natural beauty. As these constructions are generally against the environmental laws hence in most of the instances they lack electricity, sanitation and proper system of garbage disposal. This results into artificial ways to generate electricity through inefficient generators and the environmental degradation of the area. Non-availability of garbage disposal in tourist areas pollutes the environment and lakes. The poor available infrastructure also fails to provide basic necessities to the tourists like warm water, electricity, sanitation etc. In areas where there is no available road or the areas where foreign tourists prefer hiking and camping, the shortage of camping equipment, trained porters and developed camping sites discourage tourists for adventure tourism. Moreover, inefficiency of airlines in terms of frequent delays and non-availability of flights of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is also an impediment which needs to be tackled in the development and management of tourism. The correspondence and liaison of local institutions with international travel agencies to convince and motivate them is not up to the mark. At state level, there is a need for effective marketing of the tourist sites of the country.
The country being situated in the temperate zone experience hot summers and usually arid climate, there is an expected rise of tourism in the country in summers during those seasons. The north of Pakistan is where most of the wanderers and travellers from around the world journey to. By 2019, international tourists termed Pakistan as the friendliest and most hospitable country endowed with exquisite landscapes. Contrasting from wide dusty plains to high snowy peaks, the country speaks for itself. Variants of citizens, all colourful and gleeful in their element mesmerises the travellers.
Officially inaugurated in 1993, GB is enriched with a fascinating the garden called Deosai National Park covering the second largest alpine plateau in the world. In literal terms, Deosai means the Land of the Giants because of the expansion of the park ranging wide towards the mountains, booming with scores of wildlife and nature. Moreover, the views of Nanga Parbat can be witnessed from this park. It is in its full glory when the spring approaches somewhere in August where the luscious greens are witnessed along with the eye-catching butterflies fluttering around. Therefore, the best time duration of full bloom is between July to September. The paradise is alive all year round with its green hills and streams of crystal-clear water running across.
Skardu is yet another touristic escape one can delve in the region of GB. Being the capital of Baltistan Valley, it provides a getaway towards K2. This place is known for its trekking pleasures. It was named as the Little Tibet which means the heaven on earth and the roof of the world, providing picturesque spectacle.
GB’s society is an educated society with a centuries-old value system that promotes learning and respect for humanity. The people of GB will become a role model for the rest of country by promoting learning and pluralism through tourism.