Pakistan says better security driving tourism

Pakistan is hoping an increase in domestic tourism will follow through to the international market as the country’s security situation improves.

Rush Lake in Pakistan’s Nagar Valley.

Speaking to the Pakistan Association of Tour operators in Islamabad, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said the government was working to promote tourism and the effort to improve security was reaping rewards.

“Pakistan is safer now due to the Pakistan Army that has fought against terrorism,” she said, noting that the government was committed ensuring the safety of foreign tourists.

“The security situation has considerably improved during the last two years and we are trying our best to promote tourism in Pakistan. Culture can be promoted only when tourism starts.”

Badshahi Mosque in Lahore.

Aurangzeb emphasised that Pakistan’s cultural and physical diversity offered a lot to tourists, and highlighted the steps being taken by the provincial governments to upgrade and protect national heritage and archaeological sites.

Many countries, including Britain, the US and Australia, advise against all but essential travel to parts of Pakistan, underlining terrorism as a major threat.

Britain’s travel advice notes two fatal attacks in February, and says there is evidence to suggest that further attacks are being planned in areas of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

“There’s a high threat of terrorism, kidnap and sectarian violence throughout the country. You should be particularly vigilant and take appropriate security precautions,” the UK government website says.

It notes that foreigners, in particular westerners, might be directly targeted.