Islamabad, October 2: The Gilgit-Baltistan Council met Wednesday to discuss and approve a new tourism policy for the picturesque region. The policy has been prepared with the technical support of the USAID, it has been learnt.
The Federal Minister for Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir Affairs has termed the policy to be a “revolutionary” strategy, aiming to revitalize the ailing tourism industry of the region. He has said that the new policy focuses on development of infrastructure, marketing, investment, improvement of services and protection of heritage.
Members of the Council were briefed by representatives of USAID who have drafted the policy paper for the region.
People, however, believe that security is the top priority for foreigners. The sense of security that once prevailed in Gilgit-Baltistan has dwindled since the attack on tourists at the Nanga Parbat Base camp a couple of years back. No strategy, no matter how ambitious or “revolutionary” it might be, can be successful if the law and order situation is not improved.
The routine closure of KKH by protesters over petty matters is also one of the concerns of tour operating companies, a source privy to the meeting told this scribe.
The Islamabad-centric powerful GB Council, despite of not being an elected body, has extensive legislative powers on vital regional matters, including energy, water management, forest and mines and minerals.
The meeting was attended among others by bureaucrats, unelected representatives from GB and some other people related to the field of tourism.