Under the incumbent government, Pakistan has seen numerous tourism initiatives that have been directly aimed at expanding the tourism potential of the country. These initiatives have proven to beneficial for Pakistan which topped the lists of 10 under-the-radar tourist destinations for 2020 by Forbes, an international publication, and Conde Nast Traveller’s list for Best Holiday Destination for 2020. As Pakistan’s tourism sector has now been given much international acclaim, the government is looking to further expand upon it. The first development in this regard is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pakistan and China, which will help facilitate tourism between the two countries. However, this is a unique initiative as it aims to educate people about the rich cultural heritage of both countries as well. Let’s explore this initiative in detail.
During the China-Pakistan Two-way Tourism Promotion Conference in Qingdao, China, representatives from China and Pakistan signed an MoU for the tourism sector under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Under this, a cooperation mechanism among the SCO tourism cities between the Qingdao Tourism Association and provinces of Punjab and Sindh will be established.
This was done during an online ceremony, and attended by the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab MD Muhammad Tanveer Jabbar, Sindh Tourism Development Corporation Muhammad MD Ali Khosa and president of Qingdao Tourism Association Xin Hualong, whie the Board of Investment (BOI) facilitated the conference.
Under this MoU, a number of initiatives will be launched.
China-Pakistan One-Stop Tourism Service Platform: Through this platform, citizens on either side of the border will be facilitated through consultation, visa, tourism planning, route selection, tourism insurance, as well as dining, accommodation and transportation on the road, shopping and safety.
Sister-City Relations: Sister-city relations between Pakistan and China were established earlier this year between 16 pairs of cities, as the two countries mark 70 years of bilateral relationship. Karachi has been made a sister city of Urumqi whereas Faisalabad has been made a sister city of Qingdao. Under this arrangement, sister cities have been established between cities of Punjab and Sindh with China.
According to details, this new MoU will primarily focus on establishing tourism sectors of both countries. The regions particularly mentioned in this agreement are Sindh and Punjab. Pakistan’s Ambassador Moin Ul Haque also issued a statement in this regard, highlighting the abundant natural beauty of Pakistan that can be of interest to most Chinese tourists.
Let’s see how the two countries can boost tourism in a collaborative effort.
Let’s see the regions which can surely benefit from increased bilateral trade between China and Pakistan.
Gilgit & Hunza
Gilgit and Hunza are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pakistan. In recent years, through development efforts in Gilgit, the region has been enabled to facilitate the ever-increasing numbers of tourists, local as well as international.
For tourists wanting to travel by road from China, the first point of entry is the Karakoram Highway, also known as the Friendship Highway in Gilgit-Baltistan. This is the highest border in the world, and is the main route for land-bound trade between Pakistan and China. Its importance can be measured by an increasing number of international and local tourists who visit this place regularly.
In Hunza, you’ll see a lot of Chinese influence, especially in terms of cuisine. However, to many, Hunza and its people present a culture that is unique to both Pakistan and China.
The simple way of life in both Hunza and Gilgit, cultural diversity, and scenic beauty has grown in popularity in recent years. As a result of this, tourist activities here have significantly increased. For tourists crossing the border, this region will serve as an ideal point to explore the beautiful landscape of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s beautiful northern areas consist of mountainous sites that start in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and go all the way up to Gilgit and Hunza. From Galiyat Region, you can trail across the most beautiful valleys such as Swat and Kaghan, hill stations like Abbottabad, and high trek points such as Babusar Top, Fairy Meadows, and even K-2 Base Camp.
Surrounded by three of the mightiest mountain ranges; Hindu Kush, Himalayas, and Karakoram, Pakistan’s northern areas are one of nature’s finest creations that present an eclectic mixture of adventure and peace.
Punjab and Sindh
Punjab and Sindh have numerous archaeological sites that carry special importance for Buddhists. The incumbent government has also announced plans of developing a Gandharan Trail which will cover all these sites, as well as providing information to the tourists about the cultural and religious significance of the trail.
You can find all about archaeological sites in Punjab and Sindh here.
Additionally, Punjab’s Kallar Kahar area and its various lakes and springs are a must-visit spot for anyone who likes serenity. These small lakes appear out of nowhere as you trek down on small hills of Soan Sakesar, and provide a much-needed respite.
In one of the most popular cities of Punjab, Lahore, the tourists can explore the Walled City, Shalamar Gardens, Shahi Hamam, Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Wazir Khan Mosque, Minar-e-Pakistan, and even Lahore Zoo which is the third largest zoo in the world. Sheikhupura’s Hiran Minar, Faisalabad’s Clock Tower, Bahawalpur’s Noor Mehal, and Rahim Yar Khan’s historical Bazaars are some of the best places for tourists.
As for adventure tourism, Cholistan Jeep Rally and Thal Jeep Rally presents the best opportunity to experience the desert up close.
In Sindh, the coast line that spans from Balochistan offers almost 1,000 beaches for the people. Here tourists can find even more adventure water sports facilities. These are some of the most popular beaches in Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan’s marine tourism is also being further developed to attract an even larger number of international tourists.
Balochistan’s pristine beaches, especially in Gwadar are a must treat for sore eyes. It comes as no wonder that for the Chinese tourists, this place will be a wonderful treat to experience.
But what about the Pakistani tourists who will be visiting the country? Let’s see what’s in store for you in China.
Tourism In China
China has emerged as the second largest economy, and in recent years developed a strong tourism policy which has attracted people from all over the world. Below is a list of places that one should definitely visit:
- The Great Wall of China, Beijing
- West Lake in Hangzhou — Paradise on Earth
- The Mogao Caves in Dunhuang
- The Terracotta Army in Xi’an
- The Bund in Shanghai
- Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong — Mighty Skyscraper Skyline
- Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve
- Erhai Lake in Dali — One of the Most Beautiful Lakes in China
- The Yellow Mountains near Shanghai
- Giant Pandas in Chengdu
The governments of both China and Pakistan are working to ensure timely inauguration of the China-Pakistan One-Step Tourism Platform. If you are looking to apply, which is the first place you’d want to visit? Let us know by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, keep checking Pakistan’s largest property blog, Zameen Blog, for all the latest on Pakistan.