Islamabad: A seminar was held as part of the 4th Pakistan Mountain Festival at Lok Virsa Islamabad on 11th December. Aftab Rana, President of Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan who has also worked as a consultant with USAID’s Firms Project on the assignment of formulating tourism policy for KPK province and Gilgit-Baltistan region was invited as guest speaker to talk on the topic of” Mountain Tourism: Opportunities and Challenges”. Large number of people from different walks of life including students from various universities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi attended this seminar.
Mr. Aftab Rana in his presentation gave a detailed overview of tourism sector in the mountains areas of Pakistan and highlighted the potential of various forms of tourism in these areas. He also highlighted the key issues and challenges faced by tourism sector in these areas by giving various example of uncontrolled development in mountain areas which has been damaging the original natural and cultural beauty of these areas.
He suggested that Pakistan need a sustainable mountain tourism development policy framework to ensure the eco and culture friendly development of tourism for the long term benefit and sustainability. He recommended that all the tourism development should be guided under a policy framework with a key focus on the improvement of tourism management, tourism infrastructure development, quality control and pricing of services, tourism human resource development, conservation of natural and cultural heritage, selected tourism marketing & promotion a tourism legislation and its implementation mechanism.
He emphasized that if we did not pay serious attention to adopt the best practices of tourism develop today the time will come when there will be nothing left in our hands to present in terms of the real natural environmental or cultural beauty of this area to the tourists. He suggested that the only solution available is in the adopting a tourism policy which is based on the principles of sustainable tourism development to ensure the long term viability of this important sector.