It's official. Pakistan is all set to become a must-visit destination for travellers and tourists looking for something new, something different in 2020. A recent Forbes article includes Pakistan in its The Not Hot List: 10 Best Under-the-Radar Trips for 2020.
The American magazine wrote, "Closed countries are opening up. Savvy luxury agencies are making remote destinations accessible to travellers who don’t want to rough it or risk much." The list features other countries such as Armenia, Chad, Eritrea, Guatemala, Mongolia and Saudi Arabia among others.
Interestingly, the criterion for the list was based on a newly discovered but essential need of many modern tourists: “Where can we go to avoid other tourists?” The magazine points out that many travel agencies and local tour guides "have learned to bring less obvious, undertouristed places to life in a way that yields the kind of insights you might expect from their overtouristed equivalents."
“Pakistan is perhaps the ultimate adventure travel destination,” says Jonny , founder of Wild Frontiers. “It offers ancient Indus civilizations stretching back 4,000 years, and exciting cities like Lahore with its forts, mosques and palaces. But most of all, it offers incredible scenery, particularly in the north where the three greatest mountain ranges collide. Pakistan is great for trekking, mountain biking, rafting or just cultural tourism. The infrastructure has also improved, with resurfaced roads and new tunnels cutting down travel time, new luxury hotels are opening up in the region.”
Just last month, Pakistan made it to Condé Nast Traveller's list of best holiday destinations for 2020. And while it's clear that an improved security situation has revived the tourism industry, its really the country's natural beauty and diverse cultures that attract local and foreign tourists alike. In addition, British Backpackers Society (BBS) had declared Pakistan as the world’s third-highest potential adventure destination for 2020.
Sadly, Pakistan still lags behind neighbours in the region and was ranked the least competitive country in South Asia last year when it comes to travel and tourism by the World Economic Forum.
No doubt Pakistan has unparalleled beauty, but what it lacks is a structure that can facilitate tourism— more importantly, what it needs are stricter laws and policies that can safeguard our natural sites and historical landmarks from the onslaught of overtourism.