Peshawar            -         In another important development to promote tourism in the province, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Monday approved creation of 300 vacancies for the establishment of Tourism Police. Initially tourism police will be deputed in five touristic districts of the province including Swat, Upper Dir, Chitral, Abbottabad and Mansehra.  

District level officers of the tourism police will be hired from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police on deputation basis whereas constables and other officials of the tourism police will be recruited on initial basis. The tourism police will function as a special wing of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism Authority. 

This was decided in a meeting of tourism department with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood khan in the chair. Special Assistant to Prime Minister Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari also attended the meeting on special invitation. Secretary Tourism Abid Majeed, Special Secretary to CM Muhammad Khaliq, Additional Secretary Tourism Junaid Khan and other relevant high ups of tourism department were also present on the occasion. The meeting reviewed progress so far made on various developmental schemes launched to boost tourism sector in the province as well as implementation status of Prime Minister’s directives in this regard.  

The meeting was informed that a law had been enacted in the province for the transfer of government premises/properties and rest houses to tourism department and outsourcing of these rest houses for revenue generation with the aim to promote tourism activities and to extend maximum facilitation to tourists in the province. The provincial cabinet has formally approved the transfer of possession of 167 government own rest houses  to tourism department for further outsourcing to reputable investors to ensure there better utilization.  

Similarly, consultancy services are being hired for the mapping of tourist sites and finalization of marketing plan. The meeting was further informed that four different sites had already been identified for the establishment of tourism zones in the province which included Ghanool in district Mansehra, Madaklasht in district Chitral, Thandyani in district Abbottabad and Mankyal in district Swat, whereas eight new sites had also been identified for the establishment of tourism zones which included Kalash Valley Chitral, Shahi and Bin Shahi Lower Dir, Jaroga Fall, Piyah Valley, Niyag Dara Swat, Margozar, Mahabanr, Eilum Buner, Sirin Valley and Manoor Valley Mansehra. It was informed that integrated tourism management plan was being prepared for Hazara and Malakand divisions under which various line departments would work together under a well coordinated plan to boost tourism activities in the divisions.  

The meeting was informed that Tourism Management Information System was being launched to extend maximum online facilitation, services and information to local and international tourists. Regarding construction of access roads in tourists sites of the province, it was informed that seven different projects had been approved which included construction of Thandiani Road, Mankyal-Barha Sehrai Road, Sheshikooh-Madaklasht Road, Sopat Valley Road, Kalam-Kumrat Road, Patrak-Kumrat Road, Thall-Jazbanda Road and access road to Shaikh Badin Tourists Spot in Southern Spot of the province.  

“A scheme worth Rs.167 million has been approved for boosting recreational and tourist activities on various dams of the province and similarly another scheme worth Rs.147 million has been approved for the establishment of Rest Areas in various tourist sites of the province,” it was informed and added that feasibility study had been completed for installation of chair lift at Naran whereas work was in progress on the feasibility of Water Theme Park in district Swabi and cable car project at Kumrat under Public Private Partnership.  

It was decided in the meeting to launch an anti-encroachment campaign to remove illegal constructions and encroachments in tourist sites of the province. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister termed the promotion of tourism sector as one of the top priorities of his government and said that as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the provincial government was taking result-oriented steps to promote tourism sectors. He expressed the hope that as a result of these steps, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would become a hub of both national and international tourism.  

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zufiqar Bukhari, while appreciating the steps being taken by the provincial government to promote tourism sector, stressed the need to launch a mass scale campaign to give awareness to the tourists as well as the general public about these initiatives.