About 1.72 million tourists visited the northern areas during 2017. The ratio of tourists increased by 25 percent as compared to last year due to the measures taken by the government for improved law and order situation in those areas. It is a good sign that the people are visiting tourists points without security, especially Naran, Ayubia, Swat, Gilgit and Skardu. The tourists’ visits brought Rs 300 million revenue to the local economy during the last couple of years. The provincial government is expecting 2.5 million visitors in 2018.
If the tourism-related facilities are ensured with true spirit, the GB region has potential to generate local business worth Rs 1 billion, each year. In order to further attract tourists the GB government is taking practical steps through various initiatives such as holding regional and national level exhibitions including Dawn Lifestyles Winter Expos, Lok Virsa tourism and cultural festivities, Sarfaranga Desert Jeep Rally, the first-ever highest desert jeep rally, etc.
The financial provisions in next annual development programs for establishment of tourist facilitation centers at all entry points of GB, development of Rest Areas for tourists along KKH and provision of interest-free loan schemes to private sector for development of tourist accommodation facilities will further improve the tourism influx in Gilgit-Baltistan in the days to come. currently the lack of sufficient accommodation facilities, lack of electricity, less flights to GB and dilapidated condition of KKH are major issues while the environmental degradation is also matter of concern.
Presently, accommodation facilities in GB consist of approximately 140 hotels of various grades with an overall capacity of 2600 rooms, 30 Government Rest Houses and 3 Tourist Facilitation Centres at entry points. The GB has very much to offer in four seasons with highest plateaus including Deosai, cultural sites including Altit and Baltit forts in Hunza, Shigar Fort and Khaplu Fort in Baltistan, Waterfalls of Skardu region, ancient rock art carvings and inscriptions along KKH in District Diamer, lush green meadows and lakes in district Ghizer and Astore, Rakaposhi, Diran Peak and Hopper glacier in Nagar, rich culture, dry fruits and hospitality of Hunza that attract tourists to Gilgit-Baltistan. Special patrolling forces along KKH and Babusar-Naran road named Karakoram Task Force has made the KKH safe for all tourists visiting GB by road. Additionally, the establishment of Rescue 1122 and its ambulance and car rescue services had improved tourist services being provided to visitors.
Gilgit-Baltistan is a geographically defined territory of ten districts in the extreme north of Pakistan. It borders internationally with Afghanistan in the west, China in north and India in the east. Nationally, its borders touch Azad Kashmir in the east, Chitral in the southwest and Indus Kohistan of KP province in the south.Gilgit-Baltistan is indeed a pinnacle of beauty; it’s a land of hospitality, adventure, cultures, mountains, lakes, pastures and the land of beautiful people.