World Tourism Day observed in AJK

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Ancient Ramkot Fort Gala at Picturesque Mangla Dam Reservoir remained hallmark of the day

Altaf Hamid Rao;

MIRPUR, (Parliament Times): The World Tourism Day was observed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday to raise awareness among people about its importance and positive outcome for promotion of tourism. Special ceremonies were held in various parts of the AJK, including capital city of Muzaffarabad as well as other major cities, including Mirpur, Rawalakot and Bhimbher. These comprised visits of the tourists to the historic resorts in various parts of the state most particularly the ancient Ramkot fort located amidst the fully-climaxed Mangla Dam reservoir in Mirpur Azad Jammu Kashmir, besidesseminars and symposiums, under the auspices of the local notables in coordination with the local NGOs and tour operator groups. Tourists comprising a  large number of people from various segments of the civil society rushed the major ceremony hosted at the Ramkot fort here on Sunday to mark the world tourism day by Ch. Naseer Akbar, former Deputy Administrator of Mirpur, Ch. Jehangeer Akbar and their associates.

Speaking on this occasion, the AJK minister for fisheries Raja Javed Iqbal  and the chief host Ch. Naseer Akbar invited the people from AJK, Pakistan and abroad to become part of the World Tourism Day and later on enjoying the natural sites in various parts of AJK.  They called for for taking steps to ensure utilization of natural resources for promotion of tourism industry in the AJK, which is enriched with huge natural tourism potential, to bring about economic revolution and speedy development. Travelling is dubbed the essence of life. Historians call it essential for life and writers say so for the soul. In the past, travelling required extensive preparations and arduous journeys were the fate of those who set in their pursuit of culture, knowledge and trade but with the advent of technology, distances have just been reduced to numbers and hours. The world is within the grasp of a hand. The experience does come at a cost but the homo sapien, being a social animal does not let that get in its way. They want to experience the richness of different cultures, absorb the scenic beauty and feel the warmth of people has given rise to a very lucrative concept called tourism. While its capitalistic aspects are beneficial, it makes the wheel of life go-round as well. Tourism has been celebrated throughout history as it should be and in the current era, it has only increased in importance. The love for tourism has always been present but in 1980, the United Nations marked the 27th of September as the World Tourism Day. On this day in 1970, the statutes of UNWTO were adopted. The adoption of these statutes is celebrated as an important milestone in global tourism. To demonstrate the multiform effects on social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide by global tourism and to raise awareness on the role of tourism is the purpose of September, 27. Not one single economic, social or human activity can prosper in isolation therefore, tourism can help us be better and build a better future. Tourism is also a leading source for employment and it has been cultivated by many countries as a catalyst to drive forward their economies.  World Tourism Day is a perfect opportunity for countries to attract attention and spread awareness locally and globally regarding their potential in the sector. The UNWTO General Assembly at its Twelfth Session on October 1997, decided to designate a host country each year to act as the organisation’s partner in the celebration. A geographical order was decided to be followed in 2003 for World Tourism Day celebrations. With blue as its colour, The World Tourism Day celebrates the representation of life. Every year the day is supposed to have a theme. India is the country hosting the event this year with the theme “Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all”. The rich history of the subcontinent has always been a source of attraction and it has always proved to be immensely lucrative.

Pakistan: Land of the pure Pakistan is a country with a rich historical heritage. It is one of the most ethnically and geographically diverse countries. The colourful culture of Pakistan has a lot to offer for the tourists. The country is famous for its breath-taking mountains, clear lakes, riveting rivers and amazing landscapes. The mighty stretches of the Karakoram in the North leave the beholder in awe. The alpine meadows of the Hindukush are almost phantasmal. The vast Indus plain merging into a desert, the coast land and wetlands exhibit the diverse ecology of Pakistan. With the remarkable experiences Pakistan has to offer, the recent  deteriorating COVID-19 conditions had immensely damaged the tourism market. The situation has improved and is improving day by day and the influx of tourists has increased and is increasing. This correlates with the theme of World Tourism Day 2019, as Pakistan has made immense efforts to create jobs and opportunities through tourism in recent years. In a report by the World Economic Forum, Pakistan has been identified as one of the rapidly growing countries in tourism. Development of the tourism industry in Pakistan is already exhibiting positive impacts on the economic state of Pakistan as per a report, tourism contributed 2.7% to the country’s GDP.

Why Pakistan and AJK ? Pakistan including Azad Jammu & Kashmir is one of the most beautiful countries  the world over. The country enjoys a full range of seasons. The colours of every seasonal variation are abundant and bright as observed by many tourists. Pakistan houses the second highest peak in the world. The absolute breathtaking marvel, K2, attracts a great number of tourists. Gilgit Baltistan is home to the some of the highest peaks including lakes, glaciers and valleys. With a rich culture and history, it is called the capital tourism of Pakistan.

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