KP CM directs timely completion of tourism development projects

PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has directed the quarters concerned to ensure timely completion of all the projects initiated with regard to tourism development including construction of access roads to tourist sites.

He particularly directed for immediate release of funds required for timely completion of the improvement and construction of Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium Peshawar and stated that this was the mega project of provincial government which should be completed within the stipulated timeline at all cost.

He also directed for well trained tourism operators in accordance with the needs of local, national and international tourists and made it clear that integrated development of tourism was one of the top most priority areas of incumbent government for which all the concerned departments would have to fulfill their responsibilities well in time.

He was presiding over a meeting of tourism department at Chief Minister House Peshawar on Monday. Special Assistant to CM on Information Kamran Bangash, Chief Secretary Dr. Kazim Niaz, Additional Chief Secretary Shakeel Qadir, Secretary Tourism Abid Majeed and other concerned high officials attended the meeting.

The meeting was briefed about the overall progress made so far in tourism sector and told that work orders for the construction of access roads to tourist sites in Hazara and Malakand division have been issued. All the access roads would be completed within the stipulated timelines.

An initiative with regard to capacity building of Hospitality Industry and tour operators was also underway for which hiring of staff, procurement of equipments and training would be completed during current financial year.

Similarly, work is also in progress on the establishment of tourism facilitation centres and rest areas at Abbottabad, Swat and Mansehra whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Impact Challenge Program has already been completed under the youth development package. It was further told that under this project, five Jawan Marakiz had been established and issue of land acquisition for the establishment of remaining 15 Jawan Marakiz had been taken up with the concerned deputy commissioners.

Briefing about the progress on improvement and construction of Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium Peshawar, the meeting was informed that 85% of work on seating structure, hostel and pavilion buildings and toilet blocks had been completed while work on the provision of other facilities and improvement of ground was in progress.

The Chief Minister directed the Finance Department to release Rs. 300 million required for the early completion of this project.

The meeting was told that under the project regarding provision of indoor sports facilities for female, 70% work on establishment of gymnasium and multi-purpose hall at Mardan has been completed while civil work would soon be started on the establishment of gymnasiums and multi-purpose halls at Kohat, D.I.Khan, Bannu, Swat, Abbottabad and Peshawar.

About the initiatives taken in the light of Prime Minister’s directives, the meeting was told that requests for proposals (RFPs) had been issued for out sourcing and online booking of 48 rest houses. Similarly, RFPs for 94 rest houses have also been finalized and would be published this week.

It was further revealed that geo-mapping of the tourists sites would also be completed within the timelines. Feasibility studies of international standards on 10 projects for foreign and domestic investments are also underway.

Similarly, under the directive regarding integrated plan for development and promotion of tourism aligned with national tourism strategy/ action plan, provincial integrated plan is being processed through NCCT meetings and directions.

Integrated Tourism Management Plan 2021 is under development and would be completed by 31st of October this year. Beside tourism activities calendars (both general and winter season) have been developed.

The meeting was also informed that through the anti-encroachment drive, 67.57 Kanal area has been recovered in Kalam and 11 illegal structures have been demolished in Galayat.

In light of the decisions taken in the meeting of national coordination committee on tourism, 11 potential tourism sites have been identified in the province whereas short term, mid-term and long term plans have been prepared for sustainable tourism development which would be presented in matrix form to relevant federal forum.

In order to develop Bhudda corridor, Gandhara trail has already been identified and Gandhara festival 2021 is being planned.

Furthermore, various tourism activities have been proposed for winter season 2020 and potential sites including merged areas have been identified for development of new tourist areas to minimize stress on existing sites and increase the tourist spots in the province.