PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said the government is taking pragmatic steps to develop tourism as an industry to create job opportunities for the people of the province.
The chief minister, while expressing satisfaction over the progress so far made on development projects initiated by Tourism Department, directed the high ups of the department to take all necessary steps for timely completion and rehabilitation of access roads to tourist spots in Malakand and Hazara region and to give special attention to schemes initiated under Integrated Tourism Zones project.
He was chairing a progress review meeting of Tourism Department on Thursday at Chief Minister House.
The meeting was briefed in detail about outsourcing of public rest houses, Integrated Tourism Zones, public sector development projects, construction of access roads to tourism spots and development schemes reflected in current Annual Development Programme.
The meeting was told that during the last financial year 100 per cent utilization of funds against released amount was ensured while Rs910 million have been utilized so far out this year of the Rs2916 million allocated for new and ongoing projects of Tourism Department.
Apprising the forum about outsourcing of government rest houses, it was informed that 128 rest houses out of total 168 would be re-advertised for outsourcing next month. Five rest houses in Nathiagali have been transferred to the Tourism Department under the Integrated Tourism Zones (ITZ) program, four ITZs sites at Manshera, Abbottabad, Lower Chitral and Swat have been approved, adding that these projects would be ready in all respect for launching by June next year.
Similarly, survey on eight new ITZs sites has been conducted and would soon be presented to relevant forum for approval. These new sites include Kalash valley, Shahi Lower Dir, Jaroga fall Swat, Marghzar DaK, Buner, Mahabanar Buner, Ilum valley Buner, Serene and Mamoor vallies district Mansehra. Furthermore, Under the PSDP projects, feasibility studies have been approved for development of resorts at Takht-e-Sulaman D.I.Khan, Garam chashma district Chitral, Chapri and Shalzone District Kurram, Sheikh Baden Lakki and Takhtbhai District Mardan whereas negotiations with the concerned company were also in final stages for the execution of these projects.
Similarly, feasibility of 14 km long Kumrat cable car project is being prepared whereas progress on Ayubia chairlift project is underway. The forum was apprised that under the public private partnership initiatives, work on the feasibility studies for development of Hund Theme Park Swabi and Mahodand Lake Swat was in progress.