Dented with political crisis and economic instability Pakistan has been unable to promote its tourism industry to the world. This does not mean that Pakistan is not a tourism destination. From scenic landscapes to a diverse culture, Pakistan has tremendous potential in terms of tourism. Before the economic crisis struck the world and when the economic and political climate of the country was stable, Pakistan received more than 500,000 tourists. From the ruins of civilizations such as Moenjodaro, Taxila and Harappa to the peaks of the Himalayan hill stations which stand at above 7000ft, Pakistan has lots to offer.
Lahore, the second largest city is the cultural and fashion hub of Pakistan. The Lahore fort, Badshahi Mosque, Shalimar Gardens and the Tomb of Jahangir are key Mughal architectural icons of the city. The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan as one of the top 25 tourist destinations due to its abundance of World Heritage sites such as Moenjodaro, Taxila, Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi, monuments of Thatta, Fort and Shalimar Gardens and the Rohtas Fort (www. tourism. gov. pk ).
K2, the world’s second highest mountain attracts numerous mountain climbers from across the globe each year. The northern part of Pakistan boasts a large amount of forts and ancient architecture such as the Chitral and Hunza valley also known for their scenic beauty. Other peaks such as Nanga Parbat and Rakaposhi are also renowned and are supported by remote resorts which provide an ideal summer get away for tourists (Rehmat Karim Baig, 2005). The country also hosts various festivals and fairs that are aimed at attracting tourists. The ski resorts in the northern part have annual skiing championships.
Moreover, paragliding shows, the cholistan jeep rally, Kalash festival, Silk Route festival and Polo Festivals are held regularly. Trekking, Skiing, rafting, hunting, mountain and desert jeep safaris, fishing, bird watching and camel safaris are some unique experiences Pakistan has to offer in terms of adventure tourism. With a classic topography including towering mountains, narrow passes and beautiful glaciers the country is heaven for the adventure centered tourists (www. pakistan4ever. com). Pakistan also offers spiritual tourism for various religions and ethnicities such as Buddhists and Sikhs form neighboring countries.
The Indus Valley gave rise to various civilizations and gained fame throughout the world. Sport tourism is also a major attraction. The Shandur Polo Festival is the most attracting sports festival for both local and foreign tourists. Other sports include white water rafting, rock climbing, angling and mountain biking (Mujahida Noreen, 2002). Tours and Packages are easily accessible for tourists which include day trips to heritage sites, city trips, summer and winter packages. Apart from the hill stations and culturally diverse landscape, Pakistani cities of Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi are an adventure in themselves.
From the lively shopping districts of Karachi to the scrumptious meals in Lahore, each city has its specialty. Pakistani tourists on the other hand are major contributors to the tourism revenue. The northern hill stations of Ayubia and Nathiagali are renowned for there scenic beauty, tranquility and adventures. Lahore is the fashion capital of Pakistan and offers numerous shopping and food service facilities. The ‘Food Street’ in Lahore is most renowned because of its delicacies. Tourism in Pakistan is endless, with so much to offer, the country is a haven for tourists of all kinds.
Visit Pakistan and you will never regret it (Government of Pakistan, UNDP, and WTO, 2000). References 1. Mujahida Noreen. (2002). Tourism in Pakistan. Univeristy of Michigan: National Institute of Pakistan Studies. 2. Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from www. tourism. gov. pk 3. Pakistan Travel and Tourism Guide. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from www. pakistan4ever. com 4. Rehmat Karim Baig, (2005). “Mountaineering and Tourism Promotion in Chitral”, proceeding Report -Seminars on Mountain Tourism, pp. 31-3. 5. Government of Pakistan, UNDP, and WTO. (2000). Tourism Master Plan-Pakistan, Madrid.