NATHIAGALI, May 05 (APP): The scenic valleys in Northern Khyber Pakthunkhwa have attracted an influx of tourists during the Eidul Fitr holidays where they enjoyed water sports, trekking, and traditional trout fish in pleasant weather.
People visited Nathiagali, Ayubia, Dongagali, Bagnotar, and Khanspor in Abbottabad, Saiful Malok lake, Manshera, Kalam, Bahrain, and Malam Jabba, and Kumrat valley.
Nathiagali-a famous hilly resort in Abbottabad district located on Murree-Abbottabad Road witnessed an influx of domestic tourists where all hotels and motels were jam-packed with tourists mostly arriving from plains districts of Khyber Pakthunkhwa and Punjab to spend Eid holidays in its pleasant weather after heavy rains the other day.
The KP Culture and Tourism Authority’s rest houses, hotels, motels, and guest houses have received record booking orders from tourists this year as compared to last year.
Eco-tourists and mountaineers visited the nearby Ayubia tourist resort to enjoy a free ride on a chairlift amid great fun and laughter.
The hide and seek between sun and clouds with moderate to erratic rainfalls over snow-clad mountains peaks of Mukshpuri and Miranjani in Ayubia on western Himalayan hills and the calmness of Nathiagali took tourists into a lap of serene.
Ayubia-Nathiagali, Dongagali-Ayubia, and Mukshpuri Top were the most frequented sites where local guides and horse riders were seen moving around to make a quick buck.
A substantial number of tourists along with families have been seen on fast-moving swings and Ayubia chairlift amid thrill and excitement.
“Chairlift ride at Ayubia took tourists to a new height of thrill and excitement,’” said tourist, Ehtisham Khan, (26) a tourist from Pabbi Nowshera while talking to APP at Ayubia on Thursday.
He said the natural beauty of nearby Khanspur, Dongagali and Bagnotar valleys has left a lasting imprint on the minds of visitors and picnickers.
He said the weather of Nathiagali was very pleasant and people came here to enjoy its natural beauty, cool breeze and lush green valleys. “Prior to Nathiagali, I visited Malam Jabba, Swat on the first day of Eid where floating clouds mesmerize the tourists.”
He said high charges of hotels and high prices of daily use commodities needed to be checked by the district administration and proper arrangements should be made for car parking at tourists places.
Likewise, tourists also thronged to Naran and Kaghan valleys in Manshera where owners of hotels, restaurants and houses earned great profits during Eid days. The local people have vacated extra rooms of their houses for tourists to earn profits.
Many tourists have installed tents at Kaghan, Naran, Ayubia, Khanuspor, Bharagali, Dongagali and Thandyani. Tourists having low income have brought their own beds by staying under an open sky to enjoy pleasant weather in Naran and Kaghan valleys, Saif-ul-Malook lake, Lalazar Babusar, Noori and Purbi Valleys where they enjoyed waterfalls, horse ridding and boating besides trout fish of River Kunhar in a pleasant weather.
In Kaghan-Naran, several communications uplift projects including parks, highways, widening of links roads/streets, beautification of tourist places were completed that added beauty to these picturesque valleys and provided better communication facilities to tourists.
Besides tourism police, the local police and officials of district administration and Galiyat Development Authority were assisting visitors in case of any emergency situation.
The district administration Mansehra, Abbottabad and Swat have established facilitation and guidance centers for tourists. Tourists were directed to get travel advisory from the tourist receptions at toll plaza Manshera, Abbottabad and Swat or see it online on KP Culture and Tourism Authority before restarting their journey or extending stays at Kaghan, Naran, Nathia Gali and Kalam.
Unscrupulous business elements in hotels and restaurants industries were fully exploiting the situation by fleecing tourists due to shortage of accommodation at Nathiagali, Naran, Kaghan, Swat and adjoining scenic resorts.
Riaz Khan, a tourist told APP said that no hill station carried more natural and mountainous beauty in the world than Nathia Gali and Kalam where tourists were being heavily charged these days.
He said Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 per room was being charged per night from families by private hotel owners in Nathia Gali, Kaghan-Narran and Kalam and demanded strict action against profiteers during Eid holidays.
Riaz said such high charges by private hotels could negatively impact the total intake of tourists to scenic sites of Nathiagali, Ayubia, Dongali, Harnoi, Bagnotar and Thandiani.
He appreciated Manshera and Abbottabad traffic police for making proper arrangements for smooth flow of traffic during Eid days and efforts of GDA Abbottabad and Swat traffic police for making foolproof arrangements for facilitation of tourists.
KP Tourism and Culture Authority officials told APP on Thursday that camping pods at Bamborat Kalash Valley in Chitral, Shaheed Sir, Allai Battagram, Mahban and Malka in Buner district were constructed to provide better and inexpensive accommodation to tourists.
He said 10 new tourists sites had been identified where new camping pods at Jarogo waterfall, Solatar and Kalam in Swat, Lashkargaz Broghal and Solarspot in Chitral, Kumrat in Dir Upper, Alpuri in Shangla, Samana Top in Hangu, Larum Top and Bin Shahi in Dir Lower would be setup.
Three new ski resorts in Kaghan, Chitral and Swat would be established to attract foreign tourists and adventure sports lovers. Four new hill stations including two in Kaghan, one each in Chitral and Abbottabad would be developed to reduce visitors load on existing tourist destinations including Kalam, Nathiagali and Kaghan.
He said the Battakundi-Lalazar chairlift project was also under consideration that would reduce load on Ayubia chairlift.