Pakistani tourism sector showing strong growth since reopening in July 2020

 Millions of local tourists  have visited tourist attractions in   mountain regions 

The tourism sector in Pakistan has been showing strong growth since the reopening of tourist hotspots after easing the coronavirus related restrictions and closures. The tourism sector in Pakistan is recovering at fast pace.  Millions of local tourists have so far visited the Murree, Ayubia, Nathia Gali, Thandiani, Balakot, Naran, Swat, Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Many people who were confined to their homes for nearly four months due to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, rushed to mountains soon after the easing of restrictions. The government closed down the hotels, restaurants and traveling to tourist areas in the mountain regions.

The local people and businesses which depend on tourism for their survival and livelihood suffered heavy losses. Jobs and incomes were lost due to lockdown and restrictions. They spend hard time during the lockdown.

Now the local businesses including hotels, restaurants, shops and transporters are making recovery of their businesses as tourists returned to these areas. The women workers and businesses involved in producing and selling the handicrafts also suffered huge losses.

The local people in Murree, Swat, Hunza, Chitral, Gilgit and other places are happy with the reopening of tourist sector. The Hotels in many areas are running on full capacity. On the weakened, local administration has to close roads and deny entry of many people due to the overcrowding in Murree and other places. 

 The Hotels in many areas are running on full capacity. Nearly 1.5 million tourists have visited Murree and surrounding areas in last 50 days. More than million people have flocked to northern areas and Swat region. The prolonged school closure also helping the tourist sector as families with kids visiting these areas. This influx will continue till September 15.

The soaring heat and killing humidity amid frequently rising temperatures during monsoon season had badly perturbed the people restricted under lockdown who had thronged to the scenic hill stations to enjoy the beauty of mountains and pleasant weather.

The reopening of the tourism industry would help compensate businesses for the lost income and would help the country’s economy to recover faster.

Currently restaurants in most tourist spots are packed with tourists and there are expectations of more visitors till October which will increase business activities.
An Owner of a resort in Murree said that lockdown was imposed in Murree in March, under which tourists were banned from entering the hill resort so for five months his hotel was shuttered down during peak season when they used to earn the most. “But after the lifting of lockdown their business was flourishing more as thousands of visitors on a daily basis were being witnessed to stay at Murree.” 

  He claimed that tourism’ sector flourished in the summer in Murree as in these months hundreds of thousands of people make their plans to visit the hill station. He further said that a large number of visitors were seen wearing protective masks besides following other SOPs.

As soon as the tourist spots opened, an extraordinary crowd of tourists reached Murree and other places from Rawalpindi, Islamabad and other areas of the country. Extraordinary rush on Murree Expressway and GT Road caused traffic jams and people were left stranded in long queues of vehicles.

Other places including Ayubia, Thandiani also experienced extraordinary rush of visitors hungry for excursion since past five months.

                                                Rukhsana Manzoor deputy Editor


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