Eco-tourism: Locals to get grants for building their own guest houses in KP

ISLAMABAD, Oct 3 (APP): Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has taken a lead to embrace eco-tourism
vision in order to preserve environment and generate additional jobs for local communities, besides giving option to set up their own guest houses.

With an aim at promoting sustainable tourism in the country, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to offer financial assistance to the locals for the development of eco-tourism villages in Chitral and Hazara divisions.

In a bid to streamline the tourism sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial tourism ministry has worked out a plan of providing grants to the locals to set up their own guest houses by expanding their living areas.

The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held at Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, an official source told APP.

In the first phase, he said eco-tourism villages would be established in three Kalash valleys of Chitral and Hazara division.

Later, the idea would be replicated in other areas of Chitral and Hazara divisions including Nathia Gali, Naran, Kaghan, Thandiani and Galiyat, he added.

He said the number of tourists visiting Pakistan, had risen to 1.9 million during the last year, evoking the need for adopting the eco-tourism model in order to ensure locals’ engagement in tourism sector for their economic well-being.

To a query, he said the tourism ministry would develop an application that would help the locals to project the features of their guest houses.

The locals would be allowed to develop their own travel packages to facilitate the tourists by providing food, accommodation and travel guidance, he added.

He said the locals would also be asked to educate the tourists about cleanliness in order to promote environment-friendly tourism. An official from the Ministry of Climate Change said the federal
government was taking multiple initiatives to promote eco-tourism across the country as it was extensively working to finalize regulations in that regard.

Initially, he said the tourism laws would be enforced in the Gilgit-Baltistan and later it would be introduced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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