Peshawar - The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, in a bid to boost tourism activities in the province, on Wednesday decided to revive steam engine Safari Train from Peshawar to Attock Khurd and from Peshawar to famous archaeological site Takht Bhai.  

Similarly, it was decided to set up Motorsports Arena in Nowshera district under public private partnership. Besides, motorsports and indoor game facilities, the proposed Motorsports Arena will have facilities of horse riding, rafting, boating, swimming, family huts, shopping centre, hotels, restaurants and many more.  

The decision was taken in a meeting of the Board of Directors of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority (KP-CTA) held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan. 

The meeting was informed that a project with an estimated cost of Rs.3044 million had been approved for the construction of two different access roads to the historical Shaikh Badeen tourist site situated in southern part of the province. 

The meeting was attended besides others by MPA Ayesha Bano, Additional Chief Secretary Shakil Qadir, Secretary Tourism Abid Majeed, Secretary C&W Ijaz Hussain, Secretary Finance Atif Rahman, Secretary Environment Shahid Ullah, Director General KP-CTA and private members of the board. 

Apart from recruitment plan for the newly established Tourism Authority, the meeting also approved annual grant-in-aid 2020-21 for the authority and regulations for the scrutiny committee constituted for the absorption of Tourism Corporation employees into the Tourism Authority. 

The meeting was told that, under the recruitment plan, 77 employees would be recruited in first phase, 17 in second phase and 15 employees in the third phase while the entire process of recruitment would be completed by December 2020 whereas appointments on top administrative posts of the authority would be made on deputation basis.

According to Abid Majid, Secretary Sports, Tourism and Culture Department, tangible steps were being taken for the promotion of heritage tourism in the province to create employment opportunities for the youth on one hand and generate revenue on the other.

Later, the Tourism Department launched Steam Safari train to Attock Khurd, located in Attock district of the Punjab province. 

Attock Khurd houses the historical Attock Fort built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1581. Bahram ki Baradari is another Mughal-era monument situated at the ridge of mountains on the southern side of the Grand Trunk Road near Attock Khurd.   

The KP-CTA meeting was also briefed on multiple projects of construction of access roads to tourist spots, development of Mahodand Lake Swat and development of tourist spots in various districts including newly merged areas had been reflected in the Annual Development Programme. 

The forum was informed that land acquisition process for the establishment of tourism zones in Ghanol Mansehra, Madaklasht Chitral, Thandiani Abbottabad and Mankial Swat was underway while work on master plans and feasibility study of the above mentioned tourism zones would be started next month. Similarly, eight new sites have been identified for setting up of tourism zones. 

The Chief Minister directed the authorities concerned to expedite work on absorption of Tourism Corporation employees into Tourism Authority while ensuring strict adherence to the rules and regulations in the matter. 

He also directed for expediting work on establishment of Kalam Development Authority and developing Mahodand Lake for boosting tourism activities in the area.