In recent times the tourism industry of Pakistan has been in severe crisis, the major reason being terrorism in the country. Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism since Independence but after 9/11 when Pakistan agreed to join U.S in the war on terror, the incidence of terrorism in the country increased substantially. Tourists do not feel safe coming to Pakistan anymore. There have been incidents when tourists were targeted by the terrorists. Many of them were kidnapped for ransom while others were just killed for being Americans.
The reason for Pakistan being a tourist country is because of the multiple attractions in the country. The diverse culture, traditions, historical places, beautiful valleys are all factors behind Pakistan being an attractive tourist spot. There are historical places such as Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Taxila, which attract archeologists from all over the globe to come and visit the wonderful historic civilizations which are a part of Pakistan. Other than that the valleys of Pakistan have been able to attract tourists for a long period of time. There are valleys such as Swat, Hunza , Naran, Kaghan and beautiful hills like Murree, Nathia Gali, Changa Gali etc.
The major cities of Pakistan are not behind when it comes to attracting foreign tourists. All of them have different aspects which define Pakistani Culture and traditions. Lahore is Pakistan’s second largest city and it is home to a large number of cultural places which has given it the title of being the cultural heart of the country. Lahore is remembered by historians for being the city where Alexander battled on River Jhelum. It is also remembered for having monuments of various Mughal emperors and Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi mosque, the tomb of Jahangir, Lahore Fort, Shalimar gardens and there is a long list which if written down would take a whole day.
The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is known for its natural beauties such as valleys and plains. The Karakoram highway is also located in the vicinity of the province. Other cities like Karachi which is the largest city of Pakistan is the business centre of the country. It is the city of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his mausoleum is an attractive tourist spot. It is known for its beautiful and luxurious hotels such as the Pearl Continental, Marriot, Sheraton, etc.
The tourism industry experienced extraordinary boom during the 1970s. However since the disastrous earthquake in 2005 in which many of the tourist spots came under the rubble the industry has been facing severe consequences. The valleys of Naran, Kaghan , Swat etc were totally destroyed after the 2005 earthquake. Terrorism also acted as a hindrance to the potentially equipped tourism industry of the country. Swat was declared as a no go area as the Taliban forces had got control over it.
It is time that Pakistan does something to revive its tourism industry which has been marred by terrorism and natural disasters. The root to every problem Pakistan has is terrorism, once the country is able to put a stop on terrorism, the tourism industry would again flourish.