Pakistan will launch its first ecotourism village in the mountains of Kaghan Valley in March, says Malik Amin Aslam.
Ecotourism involves responsible travel and sustainable transport, conserving the environment, and improving the wellbeing of locals in an area. Its purpose is both to educate the traveler and to provide funds for ecological conservation and to benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities.
Pakistan’s first ecotourism village in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province will abide by a zero-waste policy, the advisor said.
“The ecotourism project is a unique and practical way which would reduce the environmental footprint of the tourism industry in Pakistan,” Aslam said this week. “It will educate not only the hospitality sector but also engage the local community for their livelihood uplifting.”
Visits to the ecotourism village will involve a six-day trek on foot, Aslam said, adding that the government wanted to invite the private sector to establish similar camping villages in other parts of the province.
The village will be located at a two-hour jeep drive from the historic Monroe Track which has been restored under the government’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project.
Located in Shankiari, a town in Mansehra, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the 50-kilometre long hiking trail is about 100 years old and was first marked by Monroe, a British forester. However, the track was later lost.
With 7.5 billion rupees ($46 million) in funding, the 10 Billion Trees project aims to scale up the success of an earlier Billion Tree Tsunami in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the government has been planting trees since 2014.