Malam Jabba, an exquisite and expansive tourist destination in Swat, attracts a significant number of visitors during the summer months. Positioned at a high altitude, the highlight of Malam Jabba is its elevated chairlift, drawing tourists from across the country each year. However, lately, the chairlift has come under severe criticism due to the steep entry fee of 1100 rupees at the main gate and an additional 1400 rupees per person for the chairlift ticket.
Videos related to this issue have been circulating on social media, depicting tourists expressing their discontent with the high fees and urging higher authorities to intervene. Consequently, a considerable number of tourists end up leaving without experiencing the chairlift.
In 2014, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, under Tehreek-e-Insaf, leased the chairlifts and ski resorts to Samsons Company, which has been operating them ever since.
Abbas Butt, a tourist from Lahore, emphasized that while Malam Jabba is an expansive and delightful place, the exorbitant chairlift ticket prices deter many visitors from availing of the experience. Families, in particular, face a hefty cost, as the chairlift tickets alone can exceed 10,000 rupees. He urged the responsible authorities to reconsider and make the rates more accessible to all.
Similarly, Wasim Khan, another tourist from Peshawar, highlighted that in addition to the costly chairlift ticket, the entry fee of 1100 rupees is also too high. With the current economic situation, even affording the cost of fuel for the trip is challenging. He urged an urgent reduction in the rates to make the destination more affordable.
A staff member at Malam Jabba Ski Resort, speaking anonymously, acknowledged the high entry fee and offered an explanation. The 1100 rupees entry fee includes free food worth 200 rupees inside the resort. Additionally, purchasing a chairlift ticket grants free entry. The company faces significant expenses, making it difficult to lower the fees.
Malam Jabba experiences a surge in tourist activity during June, July, and August, with tourists flocking in for the winter season in December and January to enjoy the snow. The company has invested billions in the entire setup, employing around 300 people, including 75 dedicated to security services.
The company provides two meals daily to its staff, incurring substantial daily expenses of 10 to 12 lakh rupees. Moreover, it pays an annual sum of 2 crore 12 lakh rupees to the government. To ensure top-notch skiing facilities, the resort has recruited a General Manager and a coach from abroad, compensating them in dollars for their expertise in skiing.