The visit of European Union Ambassador, Androulla Kaminara, presented a positive outlook for tourists planning to visit Pakistan. In an interview with APP on Sunday, the EU envoy described Pakistan as an amazing country enriched with cultural heritage, landscape, and wildlife.
On her recent visit to the Rohtas Fort, which is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1997, Kaminara marveled at the historic significance of the site.
Speaking in an interview, Kaminara declared Pakistan a “very safe place” for foreign tourists and travelers. She said,
I have been lucky enough to visit some stunning parts of Balochistan, Sindh, KP, and Punjab. I hope that once the COVID-19 situation improves, I will have many more opportunities to see more of the beauty that this country is blessed with and to interact with as many people from the cultural diversity of this country.
The EU envoy suggested that much of Pakistan’s scenic destinations remain undiscovered, and the country could do better by investing in such areas that attract tourists from around the world.
Many of the scenic parts of the country remain unexplored and that is where the huge tourism potential exists, particularly the stunning northern part of Pakistan with the vast Karakoram mountain range to the coast in the south.
Cultural heritage plays an important role in recognizing potential venues that attract tourists. Kaminara has maintained that culture also plays an important role in EU foreign policy makings, and their Strategic Engagement Plan with Pakistan revolves around the same dialogue.
What a remarkable place #Rohtas Fort is !!! A world heritage site of #UNESCO – a title it deserves. Beautiful scenery all around as well. Well worth a visit and we have already planned to come back soon. #BeautifulPakistan pic.twitter.com/g6ZCpLQ8uv
— Androulla Kaminara (@AKaminara) December 12, 2020
Culture an Engine for Socio-Economic Development
Ambassador Kaminara recommended a comprehensive strategy that focuses on improving access to historical sites through aspects such as better road infrastructure, transport, and accommodation. Cleanliness and protection of natural ecosystems should come second to nature itself, she remarked.
The ambassador also said that Pakistan should consider itself lucky to have six UNESCO World Heritage Sites within closed borders. She added that the archaic ruins at Moenjodaro, Buddhist ruins of Takht-e-Bahi, remains at Sahr-e-Bahlol Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Historical Monuments at Makli (Thatta), Rohtas Fort, and Taxila ruins will be imperative to revive a pandemic-hit tourism stat.
Visiting several other historical sites in the country, Kaminara stressed the gravity of the responsibility sitting on Pakistan’s shoulders. She said,
I have visited some of them. Although a great effort has been made to protect them, more needs to be done. For example, as a tourist, it would be very good to be able to buy a book about the history of the site as well as some handicrafts from the area near the site.
We also stopped at beautiful Buddhist monastic complex Talat-e-Bahi a #UNESCO side. The views & the remains are impressive. We were sad to hear that we were the only foreigners to visit it since mid-March! Social distancing was guaranteed. 2/4 https://t.co/JIrmdvX16S pic.twitter.com/kgP0KyGToW
— Androulla Kaminara (@AKaminara) August 23, 2020
When discussing the preservation of artifacts and the required facilities for catering tourists, she remarked that “more work needs to be done to restore and preserve some of the sites to ensure sustainability and to work towards protecting these natural attractions from the adverse effects of climate change and the impact it might have on the livelihoods.”
The EU Ambassador lauded the government’s efforts to preserve and restore historical sites in the country but suggested the need to devise an integrated plan to thwart stagnation in Harappa and other spectacles of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.