Travelling had become a distant dream in the past few months, but slowly it seems like things are going back to normal. Although with the way tourism has increased in the northern areas, you’d think there was nothing wrong at all.
Tourists still need to realize the importance of not overcrowding areas that have limited resources and health facilities, as well as following the government-mandated SOPs rigorously.
Enter Root Network
In this backdrop, a women-led startup Root Network has raised awareness around growing and supporting the tourist industry in a sustainable and safe way. The organization describes its mission as one that promotes
“an equitable and inclusive tourism industry in Pakistan by increasing access to meaningful economic opportunities for indigenous communities, promoting local culture and heritage, and advocating for sustainable development and responsible travel practices.”
Root Network has called attention to the way in which locals in tourist areas are exploited and robbed of their fair share of tourism revenue. They have further called out the harm uncontrolled mass tourism can bring to these areas and how we can support the industry in a better way.
The organization was co-founded by Aeeqa Ali, who is also the founder of The Mad Hatters Pk, a female-run experiential travel company. Aeeqa told Arab News that restarting the tourism industry is essential to economic recovery, but not at the expense of the region’s safety.
The Mad Hatters is a travel and tourism company that offers tours to Hunza and other adjacent areas located in Gilgit-Baltistan. They have locals on board with the aim to provide more opportunities and establish a stronger tourism network.
They also work with marginalized communities including migrant workers and women. Not only this, but their aim is to educate travelers and increase awareness related to responsible tourism, historical context, and tours.
Root Network has further launched a Covid-19 tourism safety project. The project aims to train participants in tourist activities that can be executed safely and educate travelers about safe and responsible travel.