ISLAMABAD (APP) - Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and USAID jointly launched a project at Abbottabad that aimed at fostering public-private partnership to restore tourism linked livelihoods in Kaghan Valley that was devastated by earthquake in 2005.
In this connection PTDC and USAID-funded Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development (I-LED) program implemented by CNFA, Tourist Facilitation Center (TFC) at Abbottabad.
Introducing the newly upgraded and renovated TFC in Abbottabad with the matching grant of USAID I-LED program, the MD PTDC said the centre was fully equipped with the latest multimedia and fixtures for the convenience of the tourist transiting to Kaghan Valley from all over Pakistan.
PTDC has already started a daily bus service to Kaghan from Rawalpindi and its hotels are operational in Kaghan Valley to facilitate tourists.
A large number of people, who were affiliated with tourism industry in picturesque Kaghan Valley, were rendered jobless in the wake of deadly earthquake in 2005.
"We need to improve and promote our local tourism industry.
" Brig.
(R) Amanullah appreciated the efforts of U.
S.
Agency for International Development efforts for promoting tourism in Pakistan, besides contributing in other sectors.
He emphasis on improvement of the local tourism industry in Pakistan Program Director USAID's I-LED program Mr.
Mark Treacy who was the Chief Guest of the inauguration ceremony stated that USAID's I-LED program was helping the tourism sector by providing training to the local community in front office management, tour operations, housekeeping management, food & beverage operations, quality assurance and hotel management in terms of providing better facilities and quality services to tourists visiting the valley.
He said I-LED supported with grants scheme for renovation and upgrading of the hotels according to international standards of one-, two-, and three-star levels.
"So far 9 (Nine) hotels are up-graded in Kaghan Vally in Naran and Shogran.
" Briefing about the campaign, CNFA's Tourism Industry Development Specialist, Aftab Rana, informed that a comprehensive website www.
visitkaghan.
com was launched to facilitate tourists.
So far 49500 web visitors accessed the website.
The event was also attended by Local Tour operators, officials of District Administration includes DCO Abbottabad and other stakeholders.
Photographic exhibition under theme of "Journey through Kaghan Valley" was organized and highly appraised by the participants and visitors.
Upto 60 best photographed pictures collected from all over Pakistan related to Balakot, Shogran and Kaghan Valley were displayed.
A seminar was also conducted for tourism promotion in Kaghan Valley.
Support for I-LED program is part of USAID's four-year $200 million Earthquake Reconstruction Program that is building hundreds of schools and health facilities, and supporting better quality health and education services and improved economic activities in the quake-affected areas of NWFP and AJK.
The Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development Project (I-LED) is a USAID funded three-year initiative implemented by CNFA Incorporated , A USA based international development organization, to assist those communities affected by the October 8, 2005 earthquake.
I-LED aims to increase the incomes of those most seriously affected by the earthquake, living in the Siran and Kaghan Valleys located in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Bagh District located in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), by linking them to markets with economic growth potential.
The net result of I-LED will be the establishment of a solid base for economic development through restored livelihoods and expanding employment and enterprise opportunities through value chain development, tourism promotion, agriculture and livestock development, in conjunction with USAID's commitment to the people of the affected regions of "building back better.
"