PESHAWAR: The Caretaker Minister for Sports, Tourism, Museums, Archaeology, Culture and Youth Affairs Muhammad Rashid Khan said on Thursday, 21 June that the department initiatives for the promotion of tourism and culture in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were commendable and praiseworthy and that they should be continued unabated.
“The department should also continue efforts for the identification and excavation of archaeological and heritage sites in the province so they could be protected, preserved and restored in a professional manner,” the minister said this in his maiden visit to the Tourism Department, where he attended a meeting.
Secretary Sports, Tourism, Museums, Archaeology, Culture and Youth Affairs Muhammad Tariq, Additional Secretary Babar Khan, Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) Managing Director Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Senior General Manager Syed Hayat Ali Shah, Director Culture Ajmal Khan, Director General Sports Junaid Khan, Director Archaeology Dr Abdul Samad, TCKP General Manager Sajjad Hameed and other officials were in attendance.
The minister was briefed on all the completed and ongoing projects being executed for the promotion of sports, tourism, museums, archaeology, culture and youth across the province.
He was told that a number of initiatives had been taken for the identification and restoration of new tourist spots, installation of camping pods, youth policy, setting up tourist services directorate, beautification and infrastructure development in the scenic Naran and Kalam valleys, Chitral and Buner districts.
Briefing the minister, Secretary Muhammad Tariq said that several uplift projects were being executed under the Tourism Integrated Area Development Unit (TAIDU) supported by the World Bank and the relevant quarters had been directed to expedite pace of work on the schemes.
He said 700 dustbins and as many as benches had been installed at various scenic resorts to facilitate tourists, while the management information system will soon be made functional.
“We are uploading all data of the tour operators, hotels, restaurants and scenic places on the website and mobile Apps, which will help the tourists to get information about these facilities at home before leaving for a particular tourist destination,” the secretary added.
The minister was also briefed on the first policy announced recently for culture, initiatives for establishing art gallery, renovation of Nishtar Hall and other efforts being made for the promotion of culture.
Dr Abdul Samad informed the minister about ongoing development projects in Museums, Archaeologysectors besides the heritage trail and walled city projects.
Director General Sports Junaid Khan briefed the minister on sports policy, promotion of sports, establishment of 100 new playgrounds, renovation of sports grounds and complexes in Swabi, Charsadda, Mardan, Arbab Niaz Stadium Peshawar and others.
“We have organized Under 23 games twice in which 11,000 male and female players participated only this year,” the director sports said, adding free kits, shoes, and other sports gears were distributed to players.
He said scholarships had also been announced for the talented sports players to encourage them in their respective sports fields.
The minister expressed satisfaction over the initiatives of the Tourism Department for the promotion of tourism, culture and heritage and asked the officials to take special steps for training of Tourist Police to facilitate tourists.