‘Desert Tourism’ | Next Visionary Plan of Punjab Govt.
LAHORE: Pakistan is fortunate enough to have most picturesque deserts in the world, including the Cholistan.
For promoting desert tourism in the Punjab, the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP) has taken the initiative of developing a tourist resort of foreign standards in the Cholistan.
Mr. Ahmer Mallick, MD-TDCP while talking to media told that the corporation has submitted a proposition (PC-II) to the province’s Planning and Development (P&D) Department for a practical analysis of the project. The project would be developed by some foreign reputable consulting company.
He mentioned that initially both the design and feasibility of the resort were to be decided using the services of the international consulting firm. But, later it was determined that the provincial chief architect (Punjab) would be facilitating his services to provide the design for the project. The foreign consulting company would now just be focusing on the viability of the resort and would be proposing facilities, sports in desert activities and other structural knowledge.
The requirement of the standardized tourist resort is one major concern and got this much attention because of the rally which happened in Cholistan, Desert Jeep Rally. Mallick added that the rally had attracted a lot of local and international tourists and individuals who are motorsports fans. This year the rally is planned from 18th November to 19th November.
He further informed that the Nawabs of the desert Cholistan have donated approximately five acres of the landscape for the development of the resort to cooperation. The provincial government of Punjab has also allotted rupees thirty million in the Annual Development Program (ADP) of the current financial year for the making of this resort at Derawar Fort.
The total worth of the resort is calculated to be approximately rupees seventy million. The government has also allotted rupees ten million for the practical analysis of the project in the ADP 2017-18.
Mallick mentioned that TDCP intends to complete the resort construction by 2019 jeep rally. The feasibility study would be completed in four months’ time after the consultant firm is hired and the construction would begin next year. The tourist resort would be equipped with all modern-day facilities from lodging to eating to transport and sporting options. This project has the potential of increasing the South Punjab economically along with the initiative of desert tourism.
For providing the basis for the project the documents mention that the Cholistan mainly relies on their cattle of sheep, goats, and camels. During winters the residents busy themselves with different arts and crafts activities like pottery, leatherwork, textiles, and weaving.
The backbone of Cholistan is livestock breeding. The approximate calculated amount of cattle in the area is about 1.6 million. It also meets the area’s need for milk, meat and fat production.
This area of Punjab is devoid of many facilities. A larger area of the desert is even unexplored. The major focus of the feasibility analysis is to consider the options of tourism potentials for camel rides, desert jeep safaris, local arts and crafts exhibits, folk nights along with packaged tours, etc.
The basic goal of the project is to encourage and boost tourism in the area to attract tourists for visiting the site. If the flow of tourists starts and maintains it would provide maximum job openings and business opportunities for the locals of Cholistan. The influx of tourists would also provide exposure to the locals resulting in helping them to modernize their lifestyles and would assist with the economic growth.