ISLAMABAD - Gilgit-Baltistan received record number of tourists of around one million during current year as compared to 0.6 million last year, registering a four percent increase.

Talking to APP, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ch Muhammad Barjees Tahir said, “GB has a great potential for tourism as it has nine major peaks in the world which is main interest for the tourists”.

“We are taking steps to improve tourism policy and road

infrastructure, especially at GB-Skardu road on a priority basis to facilitate more tourists,” he informed.

He said the number of foreign tourists had exceeded from the past due to better law and order situation.

“Local festivals played an important role in attracting the foreign tourists as the government and private organisations fully participated in the festivals not only to make them successful but to also promote tourism in the country by making the northern areas a safe heaven for the tourists,” he added.

Birjees said the Silk Route, linking the Central Asia to the world, offered unique opportunity to the youth of GB to show their art, culture and traditional heritage to the foreign world in order to open new avenues of trade and cultural exchange.

He said tourism policy had been approved previous year and the security was ensured for the tourists to enjoy in a peaceful manner.

“The government is boosting the tourism sector in every aspect similar to the industrial sector, opening more job opportunities for the common man,” he added. He said the investment in GB was rapidly growing. “People are investing in hotels,” he said.

Birjees further said that around 20 camping sites in GB were available for the tourists to enjoy nature.

“At the crossroads of various civilizations for centuries, ascending towards the world known peaks of Gilgit Baltistan, the glory of Altit and Baltit forts, rock carvings and many other archaeological sites not only serve as major attraction for the tourists but also keep alive the identity of fading ancient heritage on vertical limits of the Northern Areas.