Gilgit - Baltistan

Regional workshop on tourism begins in Gilgit

By: Asghar Khan & Zulfiqar Ali Khan

Gilgit/Hunza, October 09: A regional Workshop on “Integrated Tourism Concepts to Contribute to Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions” has started at KIU, Gilgit with the objective of discussing options, strategies and institutional implications to develop integrated cross-border tourism in the region. 

The workshop has been organised by Capacity Building International, Germany with the collaboration of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), Pakistan and XASS, China.  

During the first part of the workshop, delegates discussed relevant concepts, shared experiences and set the stage for an analysis of integrated (cross-border) tourism around the themes; importance of tourism for development of local communities, infrastructure and local economies and environmental impact.  The focus of the dialogue event remained on the aspects of stakeholders and their roles, planning and governance of relevant processes. 

The sessions held in Gilgit was attended by Sulaiman Wali; Chairman Chief Executive Task Force Committee, Richter Jurgen; Director InWent, Germany, Prof. Dr. Hermann Kreutzmann; ZELF Freie Universitat Berlin, Sunil Sharma; ICIMOD Nepal, Johannes Heeb; CIPRA, Cao Zhixin; Tourism Bureau of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; Rehmat Nabi President Tourism Association Northern Areas; Izhar Ali Hunzai; GM AKRSP, Li Yang; Development & Reform Commission Kashgar Prefecture, and. representative of Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Office and Tourism Department Northern Areas.

The second part of the workshop consists of 4 days of field experiences from Hunza to Kashghar, China whereby the participants will be able to observe and hold discussions with relevant stakeholders. In this connection the delegates will visit tourism sites (cultural tourism, national parks, hotels etc.) in Pakistan and Xinjiang in order to allow for a comparison of situations and arrangements.

During the second day, the delegates visited Hunza valley to witness best practices in tourism and community development.  The first group visited the handicraft and Gems cutting and polishing projects of KADO to observe the relationship between tourism and local communities. The second group held meetings with Altit and Baltit Town Management Societies to observe the relationship between tourism infrastructure and local economy. The third group visited the local markets to findout the relationship between tourism and environment with special focus on agriculture.

Secretary Planning, Shakeel-u-Rehman; member NALA and other officials also attended a dinner arranged by AKRSP for the delegates at a local hotel.

The delegates will also hold meetings with representative of Sost Dry Port, Local Support Organisation, Gojal-II and  Khunjerab National Park to discuss the present situation and future opportunities in different sectors.  The delegates will also visit Passu and Chinese engineers Camp in Gulmit .

During their visit to China, the delegates will hold meetings with county representatives, national park authorities, mountaineering authorities and other relevant stakeholders at Tashkurgan and Kashghar, China on different aspects of tourism.

The delegates will analyse the current situation and the formulation of best practices during the last sessions in Kassghar, China.

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  1. I am glade to hear about the regional workshop on Toursim. This event was most needed at a time where tourist flow has declined in Pakistan. We understand the the major reason- bad security situation for the tourist decline but media geralizes the situation and presents it in a way that security situationin in the NAs is simlier to selected parts of Pakistan where there is security concerns.
    This perception has greatly affected the Northeran Area’s economy. Many of young people of NAs were earning their bread and butter from tourism related jobs which has unfortunatly vanished.

    I am preety much sure that the delegates of the workshop will understand the freindly social environment of the mountain societies and will share the situation with their respective governments and encourage their people and friends to Northern areas of Pakistan.
    I am certain that the outcome of the workshop will also reflect the actual situation which is friendly for the tourist in the Northern areas.
    I certainly would like to thank the organizers and participating delegates and spcifically capacity building International Germany including Dr. Hermann Kreutzamann for his serious efforts to organize this event in Gilgit.


  2. A step toward Better Off
    I would certaninly apploud the long lasting step for tourism gain across country.since the large number of tourist flow in the Gilgit-Bltistan, economic shift has seen so rapidly as well nurished magnificently, this change has uplift the life standard of the dwellers and opened new vista’s for development,advancement in education and science in particular. the entire economy in the Gilgit-Balitistan is dependent to toursim , from a single grocory shope ,massive Hotels, transport companies and other agencies involved in the tourism business. unfortunately after 9/11 things changed immesely and the higher flow volume, declined at unpredicted degree and created many hurdles to all these business sectors those have very narrow association with the tourism. however , complete heaven on earth surface ,GilgitBalitstan and Hunza,didn’t lose the reputation and its value among the people around the world. it attarcts tourists across the world even after that horrifying attack and many perturbing blasts in the country, interestingly this flow has seen at an increasing level through china (Khunjrav pass) and the significance of this flow is due to affable environment,hospitality and uniqueness in the culture,cultural heritage as well as the inspiraltional landscape , this peacful environment has potential for a aggressive tourist upsurge in the very near future. this work shop will give a new dimension for tourism in the region and exchage of people will bring amiable environment between the countries particularly (pak-china). Dr, Hermann Kreutzamann effort in this regard is so deeply welcomed and appreciated. his participation in this workshop will gain its popularity in other countries as well,tand people make their,way out to visit the area through Khunjrave pass.
    after the flow of chinies tourists as well as well non-chinies , tourism industry will be one of the leading industry in the Gilgit-Balitistan,which will provide working environment and creat maximum job opportunities for the inhabitants,this perceptibly source ofearning livelihood ,foriegn exchange will boost local export, local made products “hand crafts” will find internatioanl market,that will accelarte economic growth,economic shift toward better off will remove poverty, after having association with tourism ,hotel industry , tansport companies will engage more people in the business, that will be cause of reduction in unemployment. the entire society will run with time and system, can educate their childern , this will bring progress and prosperity in the families and in society. this is only one side of the coin!!,
    some how there is also thousands of harms of this massive flow,Economic change, social change, religious change, environment change,political change, cultural change,linguistically change and many in series,that need ot a serious consideration to be handled accordingly,the chief elements have addressed dexterously by some writers in the past and will be tackled some time in the future through this platform. “Pamir Times” Voice of Gilgit- Balitistan!
    Mirza Ali

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