Skardu (PT): The Sarfaranga Cold Desert Rally 2023 is set to take place in the world’s highest cold desert in Shigar from October 6th to 8th.
Secretary of Tourism, Mr. Asif Ullah Khan, announced this during a press conference alongside Commissioner Baltistan, Deputy Commissioner Shigar, and other officials and partners.
He said the track length has been increased to 80 km, and 125 racers are expected to participate in the event this year.
The Secretary said that the event also aims to involve the local community, with Sarfaranga Boy Scouts receiving training for event management. Additionally, various cultural and sports activities such as polo matches, zakh competitions, cultural shows, and exhibitions will be part of the three-day event, he added.
He said to prolong the tourism activities in GB, the department has been offering different activities during the autumn and winter seasons in Gilgit-Baltistan
PakWheels is the technical partner, while sponsors like Serena, AKRSP, and others are supporting the event, he said.
He added that last year the event had a budget of 5.5 crore, and this year, the department has requested 4 crore from the government.
Secretary Khan emphasized that Sarfaranga has become a recognized brand and urged the local community to seize the opportunities it presents.
He said the department has also implemented environmental policies to discourage plastic bottle use and reduce printing materials.
Secretary Khan highlighted that Baltistan is the hub of adventure tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan. He said international racers have specific requirements, and the overall environment plays a crucial role in attracting international tourists.
Deputy Commissioner Shigar said the event’s preparation is underway, and efforts are being made to involve the local community for maximum benefit.