Monday, February 6th, 2023

Pakistan Tourism Crisis: Not a single foreign traveler came to Gilgit-Baltistan this season, tourists are afraid to come to Pakistan!


Islamabad : Growing political uncertainty in Pakistan and visa delays have put cold water on plans of foreign adventurers to visit Pakistan’s illegally occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) this winter and attempt to climb some of the world’s highest mountains. Not a single foreign mountain explorer has come this season. High permit fees and the US, Australia and Saudi Arabia cautioning their citizens against traveling to Pakistan have also brought humiliation to the country, Dawn reported.

According to the GB Tourism Department, no foreign explorers or trekking groups have been issued permits for this winter expedition season, which usually runs from November to February. Only two foreign expedition groups applied for visas to summit Nanga Parbat this winter, but visa delays forced them to cancel their plans. This is in stark contrast to previous years, when hundreds of foreign climbers visited Pakistan in winter to attempt climbing high mountains such as K2 and Nanga Parbat, Dawn reported.
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Why didn’t any tourist come?

Also last summer more than 1,600 international climbers visited GB for the first time. Karar Haidari, secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, said the current political uncertainty in the country was the main factor behind the decline, as many adventure tourists canceled their trips to the region. However, Asghar Ali Porik, a tour operator from GB, said that the visa policy was the main reason, as it resulted in delay in issuing visas, Dawn reported.

40 percent increase in permit royalty fees

“There is no time limit for issuing visas to trekkers and mountaineers once applied for. Foreign adventure tourists cannot manage their plans accordingly. Porik, who organized several foreign expedition groups to K2 and other mountains last winter, said a 40 per cent hike in permit royalty fees is also keeping the hikers from coming, Dawn reported.

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