After facing years of abduction and ignorance, the past few years have been great for Pakistan for tourism development. The country always had some of the amazing and breathtaking landscapes and multiple places for tourism. Unfortunately, due to certain crises and limitations, not even locals had access to these areas. Thankfully, with the restoration of law and order, right now the local and international tourists are able to access these areas.
In previous years, we have witnessed a massive increase in local and international tourisms in Pakistan. The people from the local community took the initiative to share the amazing landscapes that attracted tourists from across borders. Moreover, the government took the initiative to strengthen the tourism industry and made some remarkable policies.
Unfortunately, the recent wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused everything a dead stop. It is not only about Pakistan but tourism around the globe is at a halt. No flight operations, no hotel reservations, no visits, beaches, or anything is serving the tourists. It is for everyone’s good to be at social distancing and avoid public interaction. Although these lockdown and shutdowns are for the community benefits but on the other hand, it is calling up some complications. Things are not as simple as one can perceive for the tourism industry in Pakistan.
Right after its gradual bloom, many people invested their lives, capital, space, energy, and skills in the industry. Due to this entire lockdown situation, the industry is facing some crucial crisis at this point. Although the government tried to open a few tourists’ places in Pakistan with lesser COVID-19 potential there are disclaimers on top. Here are a few threats that the industry is facing now.
Delayed domestic tourism
One of the critical situations related to tourism in Pakistan refers to delay in domestic tourism. For Pakistani tourism, domestic tourists have been great attention. Even in the pandemic, where there were no flight operations, the local tourism industry was looking forward to the national visitors. Unfortunately, due to increased pandemic spread all over the country, the government had to stop all tourist activities around the country.
It ended up as a danger for the domestic truism industry at the mass. People have been reluctant to be in open spaces for a while now. Since the situation is getting better gradually but the industry is unable to see a welcome back of local customers. Although, many Pakistani tourists are supporting the industry by having small group trips to multiple locations. However, things are now that but stable and progressive as they have been in previous years.
Tourism in Pakistan is to just about visiting places, adoring beauty, and exploring history. It has so much to do with many activities tournaments, festivals and celebrations as well. The northern belt of Pakistan used to have many of the festivals and the Shindur festival is one of them on the top. In the Kalash valley, people celebrate their cultural festival and invite tourists to be part of these festivals as well.
Due to the pandemic, all these activities are on hold. The locals were unable to host these festivals or could welcome their guests just like before. Many of the tourists who plan to witness thee festivals and celebrations had to cancel or postponed their plans. Eventually, for some areas, a social block halts all of their cultural activities along with the economic side of the story.
Hard on daily wagers
Another important part of the local tourism industry In Pakistan that got affected by the pandemic is the daily wagers. At the tourist spots or destinations, there are many local daily wagers working at multiple jobs. These people use to live in small valleys and villages. From these remote areas, these people gather at the tourist locations to work and earn money. Most of them are guides, drivers, cargo carriers, hotel owners, waiters, managers, and much more.
These people have a great role in making the industry better and stronger on its own. Moreover, they are improving their own economy by staying in residential areas or surroundings. It is to be mentioned here that these daily wagers are not investors, neither have they had a financial backup to deal with such situations. In the current situation, they are facing quite a lot when it comes to no commercial activity in their area.
Hotels on a halt
The countrywide lockdown followed by the spread of the pandemic caused all the hotels and restaurants in the tourist locations to a halt. Investments in hotels are at risk right now. The owners have issues with their maintenance and cleaning activities as there are no workers around neither guest who can pay for it. Things are quite crucial for people working with the hotel industry.
Hotels situated in the metropolitan cities have made through the lockdown by offering quarantine packages to the people coming from abroad. However, at the resorts or tourist spots, the local hotels were unable to make such offers. They did not have people inflow in the area so they were not able to provide such services. It has been hard for many of these small business setups to match up with the things. Moreover, they have to face some of the crucial time post-COVID-19 as well.
Tourism economy at risk
Considering the whole situation in Pakistan and around the globe, it is definite that things may not be fine soon. The tourism economy in Pakistan is at great risk and requires special government attention. Among the pandemic victims, we do not only have the people who were infected. There are people who are affected deeply and badly with it. Along with other industries, the tourism industry is facing some crucial crisis right now. There is a demand for time to come up together one again and save all these resources and investments.
The government intends to support tourism and people in Pakistan are willing to support locals back there. Opening a few tourist spots is good news for everyone and hopefully, things will get better.