by: Fouzia Qazi Director Rove Pakistan Travel & Tours Gilgit-Baltistan
Giglit-Baltistan, also called ‘The Jewel of Pakistan’ and rightly so, the region holds some of the most breath-taking views in the world, from the highest peaks in the world to the magnificent glaciers, lakes and unique culture. This region also holds significant strategic importance, it borders with China. This region will act as a gateway for the rest of Pakistan, once Chine-Pakistan Economic Corridor is completed.
It is observed that in recent years, the inflow of tourists in Gilgit-Baltistan region is a highlighting one. During Covid pandemic period, it declines sharply which significant affect the livelihood of the region. Now with the declining ratio of Covid, the economic activities including Tourism sector initiatives are on rise. In recent years Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has become the hub of private investment in the hospitality industry. Profound chains of hospitality like Pearl Continental, Ramada and international chains are approaching the region. Further, with the status of Skardu Airport as international Airport, the boost in tourism activities in the region is going to be phenomenal. This will not only bring income generation to the local communities but will also enhance the carrying capacities, infrastructure development and Human Resource Development.
Better communication infrastructure and internet connectivity are key to development. The progress towards these avenues in Gilgit-Baltistan is encouraging. The Special Communication Organization (SCO) is playing an important role providing telecommunication services in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir to almost 1.7 million people, a quarter of the total population. In January 2022, the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) and the Special Communication Organization (SCO) signed an MOU) to explore opportunities for the growth of telecom services across the country with a special focus on Gilgit Baltistan. Further, last year, establishment of Software Technology Park by SCO in Gilgit in partnership with the Pakistan Software Export Board and set up an incubation centre at Karakorum International University, Gilgit is again another positive initiative. This high-speed internet has triggered a wave of digital entrepreneurship in this region.
With the mentioned above highlighting development, the potential for investing in Gilgit-Baltistan is enormous; sectors like Tourism & hospitality, Renewable Energy, Agro-Business, Value Chain, Technology, Trade & Commerce, Gem & Jewelry, Mineral & Mines are waiting for international investment to invest. For this the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan is striving to create an enabling environment for investors including policy reforms, safety and security measures and other needed areas of consideration.
Last but not the least; with all these optimistic development, an integral consideration is to protect the interests and wellbeing of the local communities and their resources. This is core for sustainable development, which we all have to consider.
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