Gilgit Baltistan is a Paradise as Seen by International Tourists Traveling to Pakistan
By Arfa Zahid
Gilgit Baltistan is one of the few places in the world with such diverse views, rivers, waterfalls, deserts, lakes, glaciers, springs appears to be plentiful. It is said when people visit Gilgit Baltistan they leave their heart there and want to visit again. The beauty of this place is something that cannot be found anywhere. There are breathtaking views, lush green valleys, highest mountains, yummiest fruits, diverse culture, generous people, and many more in Gilgit Baltistan. It includes Hunza Valley, Naltar Valley, Skardu Valley, Nagar Valley, Phander Valley, Shigar Valley, Gojal Valley, Yasin valley, Astore valley, Hushe Valley, and many more. Gilgit Balistan is home to more than 100 exotic peaks that are 7,000 meters and above, covered in snow throughout the year. The world’s three famous mountain ranges are found here – Himalayas, Karakoram and the Hindu Kush – meet there at one point, giving beautiful landscapes. There are a number of rivers that start from there, especially River Indus that ends up in lower Sindh. The region is a paradise for tourists, mountaineers, climbers, trekkers and hikers. The land is full of lakes, sand dunes, high mountains, glaciers, meadows and what not.
It is said that 700,000 local and foriegn tourist visited Gilgit Baltistan in 2021 summer season to enjoy the mesmerizing and breathtaking mountains sights. Roads infrastructures have been upgraded by the government for the tourist and Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has started direct flights to Gilgit Balistaistan. During this pandemic times tourism sectors were immensely affected. Decline in foreign tourists’ arrival to the destination, Gilgit-Baltistan’s Minister for Tourism, Sports, Culture, Archeology, and Youth Affairs Raja Nasir Ali Khansaid around 40 percent of adventure tourist groups canceled their tour due to the pandemic. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had paid special attention to the promotion of international tourism in Gilgit Baltistan.
The Gilgit Baltistan chief minister Khalid Khurshid also revealed that Skardu emerged as the busiest airport in the country with busy domestic flight operations from all major cities of Pakistan as more tourists headed to the northern region. Pakistan is likely to see about 30 percent growth in the number of foreign tourists over a period of 10 years. The findings showed that importance of foriegn tourist in Gilgit Baltistan can enhance the wellbeing of the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan by providing job opportunities and increasing current income. Furthermore, the local residents can participate in tourism activities and earn their living by providing goods and services. Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has become the hub of private investment in the hospitality industry with the growth in tourism in recent years.