Try typing ‘travelling in Pakistan,’ on Google, three videos will appear instantly, which belong to foreign travel bloggers Eva Zu Beck, Flying to World and CollegeFree. They share their experience with the world showcasing the mesmerizing scenic beauty and the hospitality of Pakistanis on their Youtube channels. These foreign travellers are among many others, like Mark Wiens, Drew Binsky, Rosie Gabrielle and Alexander Volberding who came to Pakistan and were not only enchanted by its natural beauty but were also overwhelmed by the hospitality of its people.
What is common in these travel vlogs is that they highlight Pakistan as a safe place for foreign travellers and one of the most hospitable country. In his famous YouTube video, Drew Binsky says, “I came to Pakistan and I haven't spent any money. Why? Because nobody will let me. Seriously! Pakistan has the world's best hospitality, by a long shot. Anywhere I go in the world, I always insist on paying — be it for dinners, gifts, taxi rides, experiences, you name it. But the people here in Pakistan (aggressively) won't let me pay. It's insane!! I LOVE PAKISTAN.”
Today, Pakistan is considered among the world’s top adventure tourism destinations for 2019, as well as one of the ‘10 Coolest Places to Visit in 2019’ ranked by Forbes. Pakistan is the land of some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes of the world. Additionally, it is home to the famous Biryani, which has been an attraction for not just the travellers but foodies around the globe. Due to widespread terrorism in the world, for which Pakistan was wrongfully blamed by the foreign media, it became known to foreigners as a war stricken country, which had nothing to offer except the threat of life. This has discouraged many tourists from visiting Pakistan, resulting in the decline in tourism until 2013. The image portrayed is no longer credible. Despite the negative coverage many foreigners have chosen to travel to Pakistan and after doing so, they all were of a similar opinion — that it was totally worth it.
According to Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), in 2017 the number of domestic travellers had increased by thirty percent and the strength of foreign travellers almost tripled. Evidently, the number continues to increase. In the year 2019, there has been another significant progress in the tourism industry; the government has proceeded to end the requirement of No Objection Certificate (NOC), further making it convenient for the travellers who wish to explore this diverse country. "Pakistan is really cool and has a lot of potential," says Alex, an American traveller in her travel blog Lost with Purpose.
Starting from the South, Karachi is the hub of economic and social activities, and a few hours away — located on the shores of the Arabian Sea — is Gawadar, famous for its beautiful beaches along the coastal highway. The famous Sindhi Ajrak is always the first to be admired and worn by the foreigners. It shows how obsessed foreigners have become with not just Pakistan’s natural landscapes but also with the local handmade cultural ornaments and accessories. Next up is Hyderabad’s Bombay Bakery, which is amongst the top favorites of the Polish traveller Eva Zu Beck. Travelling farther up, Lahore — Pakistan’s second largest city — serves the taste buds of food lovers along with Peshawar, giving the true essence of Pakhtoon culture, dominated by the Peshawari Chappal as the footwear, and Chapli Kabab as the local delicacy that captivate foodies and travel bugs like Mark Wiens.
Despite all these pleasures, the best that Pakistan has to offer is yet to be discovered by the international community. Canadian traveller Rosie Gabrielle has travelled across Pakistan on a motorbike and shared her memorable experience with her audience. She says, "Everyone told me it was too dangerous to come to Pakistan as a single female, let alone ride a motorcycle across the country … I hope to change the mindsets that have been conditioned and indoctrinated to think negative views on this country." She went live late at night while walking on the local streets of Pakistan, just to show how safe the country is.
The capital of the country, Islamabad, welcomes everyone with the beautiful Faisal Mosque shining prestine white with a backdrop of lush green Margalla Hills.
Islamabad is where the journey to heaven on earth really begins for all foreigners who want to travel through this magnificent country. Yes, the term ‘heaven on earth’ has been most commonly used not only by Pakistanis but foreign travellers like Eva Zu Beck as well, who emphasize that they have not found a single country like Pakistan, which has such a variety of beautiful landscapes, ranging from the peaks of Himalayas and Hindu Kush, to the plains of Punjab. Eva Zu Beck has famously called Swat the ‘Switzerland of Asia’ or ‘heavens on the earth,’ while she was travelling to Swat." … the mountains start rising into the heavens right here," she wrote while she was journeying through Swat. In an exclusive talk with Kluchit magazine, Rosie admitted, “It’s not like any other place that I’ve ever visited, it’s so touching.” Having been invited to the Pakistan Tourism Summit, Rosie shared her video in which she expressed her excitement to talk about her “amazing experience and beautiful hospitality.”
Tourism in Pakistan could be helped greatly if foreigners come to Pakistan and recount their experiences to their global audience. The world needs to know that Pakistan is not the country they find out about in misleading news reports, but a place that has much to offer from travellers to foodies to adventure seekers. No one can say it better than Rosie Gabrielle: “This is Pakistan. This is the country of Peace and Love. And this is my unedited experience so far. As a solo female travelling by motorcycle. Pakistan has suffered greatly in past years due to the continuous negative image the media portrays. Since many years now, they aren’t used to seeing tourists. So they’re overjoyed to see a foreigner. Not because I‘m anyone special, but because it gives them hope. Hope that Pakistan will once again be recognized for the beautiful country it is and the true heart of the people will be seen. People have labeled Pakistan as dangerous or that the people aren’t good. And I’ve seen how that personally affects the people here, it brings them to tears to have such accusations, and it breaks my heart to know what is said and how they’re treated abroad having experienced the culture first hand and how they’ve treated me.”HH
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