PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Min­ister Mahmood Khan on Mon­day chaired a high-level meeting on tourism sector and sought feasibility reports on all tourist sports besides deciding to kick off series of cultural activities throughout the province.

While chairing a meeting re­garding the performance review of sports, culture and tourism department and the function­alisation of tourism authority in the province, the chief min­ister directed the department to ensure maximum utilisation of developmental funds and to avoid lapses. He also approved to bring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Integrated Tourism Enterprise Project (KITE) under tourism authority.

The chief minister said that spring festivals should mark inauguration of those cultur­al events to provide opportuni­ty to people for recreation and highlight potential of the tour­ism sector, which could contrib­ute optimally towards national exchequer, he added.

He directed to expedite work on Arbab Niyaz Stadium so that it may be made ready for holding Pakistan Super League Cricket tournament next year.

Similarly, he said that under 21 games, national youth carni­val and talent hunt programmes should be immediately start­ed, adding that tourism resorts should be identified for summer season in southern districts of the province, which would not only promote domestic tourism, but would also attract foreign tourists.

He stated that the government was deploying more resources for uplift of tourism sector, add­ing that all schemes of the sector should start by March besides operationalisation of the tour­ism authority in three months.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan also served as tour­ism ambassador of the country for the whole world and carved a niche for the country’s tour­ism sector on international level as a result of his pragmatic mea­sures.

The chief minister maintained that the government had taken a number of measures for uplift of tourism sector and helpline had been established for facilitating tourists. He added that telecom marketing and stalls would put up to attract more tourists.

He said the government also accorded priority to the welfare of merged districts and added it had been decided to hold ex­tracurricular activities for the youth of the tribal districts.

During briefing, it was told that tourist facilitation spots would be ready till next sea­son in Peshawar, Malakand and Hazara divisions. It was told that construction of 15 access roads to tourist spots was going through tender phase.

The chief minister directed to speed up pace of loan-in grant programme for provision of employment opportunities to youth.

He said guidance should be provided to facilitate youth on establishing their business in order to fully capitalise on the prime minister’s vision on tour­ism promotion.

The meeting also decided for identification and promotion of tourist activities in the south­ern districts during winters and holding of folk and spring fes­tivals across the province. The chief minister made it clear that Prime Minister Imran Khan is taking special interest for pro­moting tourism in Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa. He warned that negli­gence would not be tolerated in this regard.

The meeting was briefed in details regarding the steps tak­en for the promotion of tourism in the province and establish­ment of KP culture and tour­ism authority (KPCTA). The meeting was told that a free toll helpline has been set up which will provide information on available tourism options which will help in efficient planning by tourists. The meet­ing was informed that six out of nine facilitation centres have been completed in Malakand Division whereas tele-market­ing and installations of tour­ist stalls will soon be initiated throughout the country.

The meeting was briefed on the short term and long term planning of tourism department in the province. The Chief Minis­ter directed to expedite the loan in grant program for youth of the province in order to provide them with business opportuni­ties. The youth should also be provided with expert guidance to facilitate them in setting up of businesses. Mahmood Khan said that implementation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision & mission for tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be ensured at every cost.

The meeting was attended by Advisor to CM for merged dis­tricts Ajmal Wazir, Special As­sistant on Excise & Taxation Ghazan Jamal, Additional Chief Secretary Shakeel Qadar, Secre­tary Sports, DG Culture & Tour­ism Authority and other offi­cials.