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Inflation and Weather Conditions Affect Tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

As per data received by TNN, 326,525 tourists visited six tourist spots in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Eid last year, while this year, the number plummeted to 86,376.
by TNN Editor - 26 Apr, 2023 1608
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Anwar Khan

The tourism industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faced a severe setback this year on the occasion of Eid, as both local and foreign tourists turned away from the northern regions. According to the Department of Tourism's statistics, only 86,376 tourists visited the province's tourist destinations during the three-day Eid period this year, with only 63 foreign tourists arriving between April 21 and 25. This figure is much lower than that of the previous year.

As per data received by TNN, 326,525 tourists visited six tourist spots in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Eid last year, while this year, the number plummeted to 86,376.

Similarly, the number of tourists also decreased in Galyat and Malam Jabba, with 112,000 and 123,000 tourists visiting these places last year, respectively. However, this year, only 25,000 tourists visited Galyat, and the number of tourists at Malam Jabba was just 17,000.

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According to the statistics, not a single foreign tourist visited Kumrat and Galyat this year on the occasion of Eid. Tourists attributed this decline in numbers to the recent inflation in the country, making travel and tourism unaffordable for many.

One tourist, Imran Ghani from Buner, stated that very few tourists visited Swat and other areas on the occasion of Eid this year due to inflation. According to him, the cost of petrol from Buner to Malam Jabba is now Rs. 8,000, which is unaffordable for many people, causing a decline in tourist numbers. He added that the roads and entertainment places were empty this year, in contrast to the past when there used to be a rush on the way to Malam Jabba due to a large number of tourists.

Another tourist named Sajid noted that the tickets for amusement parks at Malam Jabba, Mingora, and other tourist spots have increased so much that they are not affordable for the common man. For instance, the entry fee for Malam Jabba's amusement park is more than Rs. 3,000.

The spokesperson of the Department of Tourism, Saad bin Owais, also pointed out that inflation and weather conditions were the main reasons for the decrease in tourism. In his conversation with TNN, Saad mentioned that tourism is not possible without transport, and with the current state of inflation, the amount of money spent on petrol alone for travel is a significant barrier.

He added that the closure of places like Naran, Kaghan, Bahrain, and Kalam on the occasion of Eid also contributed to the decrease in tourist numbers. Additionally, many tourist places, including Kalam, remain closed due to heavy rains, floods in rivers, and landslides during Ramadan, he explained further.

Meanwhile, according to Zahid Khan, the president of the Swat Hotel Association, the infrastructure of Swat was severely damaged due to floods last year, leading to a decline in tourism. He noted that the industry suffered a loss of billions of rupees due to the floods, while terrorism and inflation in Swat also played a role in the drop in tourist numbers.