PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Muhammad Atif Khan has said that local populace will be encouraged to help government develop new tourist sites in the province.
“The promotion of tourism will be a distant dream if all stakeholders, including local population, are not included in the overall development process of tourist spots in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Atif Khan said while speaking at a workshop here on Thursday.
The United Nation Development Program and the Tourism Department had jointly organised a consultative workshop on the ‘Rehabilitation of new tourist spots’ in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Secretary Tourism Rashid Mehmood, Director Youth Affairs Asfandyar Khattak, PAITHOM In-charge Hurmat Yar Khan and other stakeholders were also present.
The participants thoroughly discussed a number of ways and means for teh development of the newly identified tourist resorts in the province.
The senior minister, who also has the portfolio of Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Culture, Museums and Youth Affairs, said that the Tourism Department was devising a comprehensive strategy for the promotion of tourism in the merged tribal districts.
He added that potential of tourism would fully be explored and exploited to make it a huge revenue-generating sector for the government and the local populace as well.
“Swat, Buner, Chitral, Mansehra and tribal districts have a huge tourism potential as a number of scenic destinations had been identified there for rehabilitation to facilitate tourists,” Atif Khan said.
He said the revenue generated from the tourism would also be spent on the wellbeing of the local people so they could happily share the responsibility of protecting and conserving the tourist places and benefits as well.
The senior minister said that a 10-member high level Task Force had already been constituted to remove bottlenecks in the way of tourism promotion and identify new tourist resorts in the province.
“Chief Minister Mahmood Khan is chairman of the Task Force while senior minister for Tourism, four other provincial ministers, KP chief secretary, secretaries Tourism, Communication & Works Department and Forests are its members,” the senior minister elaborated.
He said the Task Force would formulate policy for the access of tourists to the scenic spots and also construct and renovate tourist attractions in the province.
He said concerted efforts were being made to introduce Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a tourism brand to the world to attract more tourists and visitors to the province.
The senior minister said that tourism activities would be promoted at international level to apprise foreigners of the tourism potential and beautiful places in the province.
He said that tourism was a key driver for socioeconomic progress and the importance of tourism cannot be denied even in the today’s modern world.