Prof Rahmat Karim Baig
During the last few years, an increase in domestic tourism has been noticeable in Chitral as well as in Dir. Swat was already on top in Malakand division. In Chitral, it is due to the Lowari tunnel which has made it easier for tourists from down districts to reach Chitral but their idea is based on the presumption that once the journey through the tunnel is over everything will be all right but they are much frustrated to find the roads of Chitral in shambles.
The condition of roads is so lamentably poor that all tourists regret their decision for their option to travel to Chitral, firstly on the ground that the road system is very poor, not fit for their cars and secondly that there are few hotel facilities in Chitral town and many tourists had to sleep in their vehicles. The small city of Chitral cannot accommodate higher number of tourists. Last year it had been disclosed, after a meeting and a survey that Chitral city hotels have only 430 beds in all, and more than that number of tourists will have to stay in the open. This is a great drawback and investment in hotel business is required to meet the need of near future.
The tourists who come to Chitral from Punjab have no prior accurate info so they face a number of problems after travelling such a long journey. The Pashtoon tourists know Chitral comparatively better but they bring all their paraphernalia in mini trucks and stay out of hotels. They cook their own food on the road side and sleep in their trucks. They contribute nothing to the market economy except the garbage they throw on the roadsides and leave the city with heaps of waste, adding to the already dirty streets. Their visit thus creates very bad image and bad impact on the tourism sector. This type of tourism is not welcome. We regret that we have imagined this type of domestic tourism and it was a big mistake.
Chitral has been a tourist resort since long ago, as in 1893 with Cockerill and his followers as explorers. The following years saw more and more explorers and climbers. That was a clean tourism and has continued on the same standard to date, but the domestic tourism is too much for us; unbearable and my request is to ask the Tourism Police , if any, to monitor this situation garbage dumping upstarts on both events of Eid and make things better than the present developments.
Chitral can afford a controlled number of tourists, not mass tourism. The number of tourist should be determined and no more than that number, say, ten thousand a year, be allowed. This reduction of the larger number will create a curiosity in the world tour market and we can thus get less waste management burden. This number could be managed but a local Tourism Association is a must to be in coordination with TC KP for suggestions from the local experts. In this respect we can adopt the tourism policy of Bhutan.