Pakistan, a culturally and socially diverse country, is a land of magical and mystical beauty. Benefiting from a thousand-year-old civilization, the country is a bastion of cultural relics inherited from the knowledge and experience of communities, historians, artists, archaeologists and anthropologists. The spiritual heritage of the country is embodied in the mosques, shrines, temples, churches, gurudwaras and mandirs that it has preserved over time immemorial. American magazine Condé Nast Traveler has ranked Pakistan as the top travel destination for tourism in 2020.
Taxila, an ancient city, is a hoard of treasures with Buddhist stupas and archaeological remains and the accounts of history tell us that Apostle Thomas came to present day Taxila in the first century AD. Deep in the Kalasha valleys of Chitral, you can meet the native tribe who are said to be the descendants of Alexander the Great. Due to its cultural power, the World Economic Forum has placed Pakistan among the top 25% of world destinations for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
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Pakistan has wonderful tourist spots
Pakistan’s landscape is unique and varied, with high altitude mountain ranges in the north; a series of low mountain ranges from north to southwest; plains and deserts in the east; and the warm, captivating beaches of the Arabian Sea to the south. With 7,253 known glaciers, Pakistan has more glacial ice than any other country on earth outside of the polar regions.
The northern regions of Pakistan encounter the three spectacular mountain ranges, the Karakoram, the Hindukush and the Himalayas. Pakistan has five of the 14 highest independent peaks in the world (the eight thousand), including K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I & II and Broad Peak. Home to 108 peaks above 7,000 meters and more than four thousand peaks above 6,000 meters, a whole series can be devoted to the mountains of Pakistan. Besides high mountains, the north offers cultural heritage, beautiful valleys, natural lakes, glaciers and an array of rare flora and fauna. The polo festival at Shandur Top in Gilgit Baltistan is an out-of-this-world experience with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, alpine flowers and sparkling lakes.
The four provinces of Pakistan have a rich cultural diversity with differences in food, art, traditions and lifestyle. Karachi, the port city has landmarks such as Empress Market, Bristol Hotel, Frere Hall and the Mausoleum of Founding Father Quid-e-Azam Jinnah. Peshawar, known as the “Border City”, is located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia with historical sites and the unmissable beauty of Qissa Kahwani Bazaar. Baluchistan has breathtaking attractions such as Quetta, dubbed the “Fruit Garden of Pakistan”, and Urak Valley, Ziarat Residence of Quaid-e-Azam and Pishin Valley, among others.
A serene abode for nature lovers, verdant Kashmir blessed with the bounties of nature is ideal for sports activities like skiing, paragliding and rafting. To the north, you can live in the Khaplu Palace, an imperial building from the mid-19th century, like Baltic royalty. To experience Mughal architecture, a visit to Lahore with the sites of Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens and Badshahi Mosque is a must.
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The New York Times chose Lahore as one of the best places to visit in 2021
The British Backpacker Society ranked Pakistan as the top adventure travel destination for 2018. Will Hatton, author of The Broke Backpacker, wrote that Pakistanis are “hospitable, kind and welcoming people”. The locals are generous and invite you into their homes without prior appointment, the shopkeepers ask you to take a chai while you window shop and its cultural richness embraces you with open arms. Pakistani street food and chai (tea) in makeshift cafes are a world apart driven by resilient and cheerful youth. Fragrant, spicy and delicious, many local dishes carry a cultural heritage rooted in the country’s history and geography.
In recent years, Pakistan has seen an incredible improvement in its security situation. The 2021 Gallup Law and Order Report ranks Pakistan, Italy, Sri Lanka and Israel at the same score of 84, keeping it above many developed countries. The Serbia-based Numbeo Crime Index, which ranks 452 cities, improved Karachi’s ranking from 13th place in 2013 to 127th in 2021, while Islamabad and Lahore are ranked 396 and 274 respectively, showing that the Pakistan cities are safer compared to other major cosmopolitan cities. Pakistan also fares much better compared to many advanced economies in Numbeo’s Crime Index 2022.
The hospitality and tourism industry is booming in Pakistan. The Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan, has made promoting tourism a priority and the Prime Minister’s determination is yielding positive results. The future of tourism in Pakistan is hopeful as the government aims to launch new projects and create jobs through ongoing efforts and future initiatives to promote tourism.
Pakistan offers visas on arrival to visitors from over 50 countries and e-visas to 175 nationalities. In 2017, around 1.7 million foreigners visited Pakistan. The number increased further in the following years, before the pandemic. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has predicted that the country’s tourism sector will reach over $40 billion within a decade. According to the WTTC, one in four jobs was created by travel and tourism between 2014 and 2019 in Pakistan. Tourism’s contribution to GDP was 10.4% in 2019. Multiple digital resources provide consumers with all the information they need to plan their trip by bringing businesses and travel agents from across Pakistan together in one platform.
Football fans will be happy to hear that British coaches are coming to Karachi this month to train Pakistan’s exuberant young football fans. And the crazy cricket fans are absolutely thrilled that top cricketers from all over the world are flocking to Pakistan to play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches.
Read more: UK-based magazine, Fascinating Pakistan, to promote tourism in Pakistan
Pakistan is becoming one of the best travel destinations in the world. The jovial and vibrant South Asian nation is a great place to enjoy the natural beauty and hospitality of its people. In 2017, Cassie De Pescol, the first person to travel to all 196 countries on the planet, after her groundbreaking trip, placed Pakistan as her 5th favorite country, citing it as one of her most favorite experiences. more educational and rewarding.
The author is Director General (Americas) at the Department of Foreign Affairs. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.