Over 600,000 people visited seven major tourist destinations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, mostly Malakand and Hazara divisions, during five Eid holidays, said the tourism department.
Officials said the influx continued in Chitral despite heavy rainfall which caused landslides and flooding in nullahs in the three districts.
“The main destination is Kalash valley as everyone wants to visit the famous Kafiristan. There are long lines of vehicles on the road and a hustle and bustle unimaginable on ordinary days,” said an official of Chitral Lower, adding that there was no space in hotels and guest houses so the tourists were forced to stay at private homes with people as paid guests.
Tourists blamed that the provincial government has paid no attention to the construction of roads in Chitral as well as Dir Upper so those people who are in motorcars are especially facing difficulties.
It is very difficult for tourists in motorcars to cross overflowing streams and broken roads compared to those people who are traveling in 4×4 off-road vehicles.
“Chitral is a scenic and amazing place to visit. The weather is so pleasant but the roads linking Chitral with Kafiristan are in very bad condition which is the main hurdle for tourists,” said Yousra Hayat, a tourist from Lahore, adding that despite this they enjoyed their visit.
“The people of Kalash valley are very hospitable and polite but it is very unfortunate that the KP government has not taken any step to improve road infrastructure to facilitate tourists and local residents,” she maintained.
In Kumrat Upper Dir, the large number of tourists have provided the hotel owners with an opportunity to mint coins as they are charging Rs10,000 to 20,000 per night without inviting any attention.
Food is also expensive and available at double the market prices. Another tourist Sarwar Abass from Punjab said that he visited Kalash Valley which can accommodate thousands of tourists if managed properly but the broken roads are a real problem and the provincial government should complete the construction of the road before the start of next tourism season.
A heavy downpour in Chitral resulted in medium flooding in all the rivers, streams and nullah in the district. This badly disrupted the traffic for several hours in different locations.
“The road to Kalash valley was closed down in three areas due to overflowing of the streams after rainfall,” said an official, adding that the element of chill has increased in the weather once again and people have been forced to wear sweaters.
Land sliding was also reported from different locations which left tourists stranded for hours. In Dir Upper flood was recorded in Panjkora River and land sliding left the Kumrat Road closed for several hours.
Although Swat is the main tourist destination in K-P for tourists due to easy access and developed infrastructure along with Galyat in Abbottabad district, Chitral and Kumrat have also emerged attractive spot for those who want to avoid overcrowding.