PARIS: First ever International Conference on the majestic mountains of Pakistan was successfully held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris last week.
More than 500 enthusiasts of alpinism, adventure sports and tourism from many European countries including Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland and United Kingdom attended the conference. Ambassadors of many countries, top ranking tour operators of France, notables of Pakistani community and media persons were also present in large number.
Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressed the inaugural session of the conference through a special video message. He said that Pakistan was unique and diverse in terms of its landscapes and offers a variety of activities and attractions for tourists of all shades.
The foreign minister further said that promotion of tourism was a priority area for the new government of Pakistan under Prime Minister Imran Khan. Besides developing modern facilities for visitors and new resorts, the government’s tourism policy would also ensure that tourism remains sustainable and eco-friendly while preserving the nature and its resources for future generations.
Ambassador of Pakistan to France Mr Moinul Haque in his welcome remarks thanked all moderators and panelists for their participation. He invited the guests to visit Pakistan and explore its hidden secrets.
Mr Pierre Mazeaud, the well-respected French politician and jurist, who is also an accomplished mountaineer, was the guest of honour. He spoke about his various expeditions to Pakistan and hoped that this conference would help in further promotion of mountain tourism in Pakistan.
One minute of silence was observed to pay homage to those mountaineers who had lost their lives this year during their expeditions on the mountains of Pakistan.
Later, three separate panel discussions were held on the themes of “Conquering the Heights”, “Seeking new Adventures”, and “Sublime and Sustainable Tourism”. World renowned mountaineering and extreme sports experts and specialists of bio-diversity and eco-tourism took part in the discussions.
Special documentaries highlighting mountaineering and adventure sports and tourism opportunities of the panelists about their expeditions and projects in Pakistan were screened during the conference.
The audience was later enthralled by the mesmerizing performance of Pakistani famous instrumental band ‘Khumariyaan’, which was specially flown from Pakistan for the event.
Multiple activities were planned on the sidelines of the conference. The top tour operators of Pakistan had setup stalls to introduce tour packages specially prepared for European tourists and adventure seekers.
The participants also benefited from the specially setup Virtual Reality show to experience paragliding over the mountains of Pakistan with famous French paragliders i.e. Antoine Gerard.
The outside halls were adorned with large sized thematic and artistically displayed photos of Syed Mehdi Bukhari and Yasir Hameed depicting the diversity and beauty of Pakistani landscapes