Peshawar           -         Hoteliers and those related to tourism industry on Tuesday demanded lifting of ban on tourism activities as they said they had become financially too weak to manage their domestic expenditures.

Talking to newsmen, President of All Swat Hotels Association Zahid Khan said if the government refused to lift ban on tourism activities during this season, the industry would suffer Rs.9 billion loss.

Speaking on the occasion, Wadud, President Kalam Hotels Association, said that almost 70 percent people of Swat depended on tourism industry, however, the ban on the tourism had added to their miseries. “We will follow all the SOPs issued by the government. In fact, this sector is still closed when all businesses are open in the valley,” he added.

He said in the open atmosphere, the chances of contracting Covid-19 were minimal.

Swat district of KP is considered one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations with lush green forests, verdant alpine meadows, and snow-capped mountains.

Areas in Swat, such as Kalam, Malam Jabba, Mahodand lake, Marghazar, Bahrain and Madyan, are tourist magnets. Also, the valley has many archaeological sites Saidu stupa, Shingardar stupa and many other ancient sites.

While talking to The Nation, KP Tourism Corporation Managing Director Junaid Khan said the government had planned to resume tourism activities under the policy of “controlled tourism” where all activities would be under proper anti-Corona SOPs. Only families might be allowed at tourist locations under the strategy.

“Tourism activities are the lone source of livelihood for many residents of various tourist locations,” he added. However, he said they would try to implement strict SOPs to avoid spread of virus from infected people of other areas at such tourist spots.