Tourism in FATA (Newly Merger districts of KPK Pakistan)
Written By : Rahima Zahid
Fata (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) – A most beautiful hidden region
It is said that the purpose of life is not only to be happy. It needs pride, honor, and dignity too. It required to be compassionate and efforts to bring some positive difference in society through the potential and skills of people.
FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) is considered to be the most underdeveloped region of the country. The standard of living is below average as compared to other places of Pakistan and the people are living in multidimensional poverty with low literacy rate and lack of skills. Despite this region is having the vast potential for development and progress. It has been remained most neglected , unexplored region, and hidden from eye of the world.
FATA strategically is very important, semi-autonomous region. It is located in northwestern Pakistan, bordering Pakistan’s provinces Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to the east and south and Afghanistan’s provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Khost and Paktika to the west and north. It is located along Pakistan’s north-western Himalayan zone and south-western Sulaiman Mountains and runs as a narrow tract along the river Indus with the parallel lines almost north to south. This tangled mass constitutes an area of 27224 sq kilometres .
Administratively, FATA consists of two kinds of areas. First area comprises of seven tribal Agencies or districts (Bajaur, deMohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, will North and South Waziristan) and second area of six Frontier Regions (Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, DI Khan, Tank and Lakki Marwat). Some places of fata are considered to be the heaven on Earth.
Once Fata had been a very popular region among the tourists. The travelers from Europe used to come through the legendary Khyber Pass. Which from the north formed a narrow gateway between East and West along the Silk Road.
The territory of Fata is very rugged, with rivers and a range of mountains some as high as 16,000 feet. Overall it has unexplored high mountains, gushing streams, the lush green pastures, the thick forests, trails and beautiful valleys full of flowers.
The area close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border had a variety of flora and fauna and centuries-old architecture.
There are many historical and Archaeological
sites which reflects the rich heritage culture of Fata.
There are around 35 areas in Kurram, North and South Waziristan and Orakzai agencies that could attract tourists..Before partition Kurram Agency used to be a summer resort Because of it’s spectacular and breathtaking beauty. Another famous tourist spot was “Razmak,” an area with a beautiful landscape having hills covered with evergreen forests and numerous streams passing through it it is a unique place where it rains almost everyday. Also there is a historical fort which shows the history of warriors. The most famous places in Razmak are Bara Pishth, Alexandria, Charbandai, Mamotha and Shoi Dar Ghar.
Despite lush green mountains with snow capped peaks, beautiful valleys, streams, vast land of natural beauty, Fata, a land of biggest tourist attraction is constantly neglected by the Government and tourist departments. It need consideration to develop and identify potential areas Fata for the establishment of tourist spots.
Although Various development projects and initiatives of infrastructure are taken in Fata, including the plan of construction of central trade corridor, which will start from Dera Ismail Khan and will pass through the heart of FATA, connecting to Afghanistan. Already 550 kilometers of road has been constructed in FATA. Which has made easy access to other parts of the country. But still it needs more reforms in infrastructure for setups of other sectors too, mainly focusing on developing tourism industry.
The tourism industry is the only sector that can influence the entire infrastructure of Fata. With less investments it gives huge profit and bring prosperity. The people from grass root to higher level can be benefited with it. If proper steps are taken to develop tourism industry, it can generate billions and boast economy. It can achieve its lost glory
The local people specially youth can get the opportunities of
employment, business and trade. The prosperity and growth can take place resulting the change of destiny of people of that region. But To bring prosperity and development, this region need attention of government and civil societies to explore the potentials, create opportunities and develop infrastructure. The policies can work steadily if made according to the culture, local values and customs of Fata.
Tourism industry requires professionals who have the right sets of skills to offer excellent customer service. It need training to develop potentials to meet the criteria of demands.
As everyone knows that no major progress can take place unless local people of the region are made stakeholders in the process of the infrastructure development initiative. In this regards many useful steps can be taken . One of them is to skilled the locals specially youth with education and training .The training programs would not only enhance the skills, provide employment opportunities ,but also assist in bringing the development of Fata youth as other part of Pakistan
Mostly the peoples of Fata are uneducated, unskilled and unaware of their potentials, it becomes the reason of impeding development in the region.Specially the youth of FATA has no opportunity of acquiring skills which they can use for getting employment or starting their own business.Therefore, it become the responsibility of civil society, experts, professionals, policymakers and government organization to provide them platform of vision, skills through training and learning. Proper training institutes, and vocational centers are to be built to make them independent and knowledgeable to overcome every challenge of life
As for long and sustainable development.of Fata region,the infrastructure policies has to include plan to educate the local people, develop their skills specially focusing on strengthening the potentials of the youth. There is dive need to trained them and make them professional in hotel industry, culinary, tour guides, tour operators, photographers, video makers, video editors, etc. They should be issued license of tour operator so they can work independently.Beside this educational programs can be given those who want to become social media workers, writers and other related fields.
Through the training following objectives can be achieved
– To impart new skill in the FATA youth.
– To develop youth personal, organizational skills, knowledge, and abilities
– To improve their English language proficiency and interpersonal communication skills
– To provide better technical education.
– To provide conducive atmosphere to ensure active participation of the youth in the development efforts.
– Increase the level of employability.
– Encourage and promote entrepreneurship.
Through skill development programs and trainings Fata youth can be enabled to become useful and self-sufficient It will give them direction and management skills. Make them more efficient to manage all task and accomplish their goals adequately. The main objective of training is to support Fata youth’s independence, develop sense of responsibility, develop their skills and enable them to cope with life independently It will imparts entrepreneurial spirit in youth and makes them capable to manage and finance their business effectively.
Tourism can’t prevail without advertising campaigns. In this era of technological advancement tourism can be advertised easily on the internet .Social media is a best platform for the local people and tour operators to share photographs of places and motivate tourists to visit places in Fata. Entrepreneurs can also share their package tours. YouTube and online videos is also best way to share videos. Other way is to run advertisements on television, magazines and newspapers. Write blogs, articles and publish informative literature like maps ,brochures and books.
Tourism infrastructure in Fata needs planning, for promoting tourist places, development of attraction site for tourists, preserve cultural places.It also need to Develop accommodations like hotels and motels , tack and handy craft shops, restaurants, visitor information, tour and travel operations, medical facilities, Internet services, communication modes, postal services and bring major improvement in transportation facilities.
It need reforms to take an integrated approach to bring all the local people on the same page, and It is concluded that without the training and developing skills of local persons specially youth the desired Targets of progress cannot be achieved. Tourism sector has to be encouraged and produce skilled persons through training, counseling and career development for long-term livelihood opportunities and economic revitalization in Fata.