ISLAMABAD - The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is committed to promoting and developing tourism industry by encouraging private sectors in the province.

Provincial Minister for Sports, Culture, Tourism and Museums, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Mehmood Khan said this while addressing the opening ceremony of tour operating agency of the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that tourism is the second biggest earner and employer in the world and has a turn-over in billions of dollars. Many countries are trying their utmost to develop this industry, he added.

He said Pakistan in general and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular possess vast resources of natural attractions for which no great investments have to be made.

Mehmood Khan said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has given top priority to the province tourism sector and is committed to protecting and preserving the culture, traditions, history, heritage, environment, and wildlife of targeted areas.

He said provincial government will gradually and systematically identify and develop all the existing potential areas for attracting tourists from in and outside the country.

The minister said the government is working on training to develop human resources of various institutions both private and public linked with tourism Industry.

He said steps are being taken for construction and development of tourism complexes including hotels, motels, restaurants, rest houses and parks besides publicity and advertising of existing tourists attraction places through billboards, print and electronic media.

He said that the provincial government has arranged several activities through tourism corporation KPK including Saiful-Muluk Environmental Clean up Programme in October, 2013, trekking and camping Thandiani to Nathiagali in November, 2013 and Jashn-e-Chitral (1st to 10th October 2013), Chitral.

He said that the government also arranged three Train Trips from Peshawar to Attock Khurd in Oct-Dec, 2013, Vintage Car Rally (30th November 2013) Karachi to Khyber, Indus River Water Crossing Jeep Rally (5th January 2014) and Khanpur Water Sports Festival 2014 (21-23 February).

He said that a colorful three-day festival at Khanpur was arranged, where families poured in from adjoining areas to enjoy themselves. A stunning fireworks display in the evening and Khanpur Lake has been promoted as a recreational destination.

He said that the present provincial government of KPK has initiated work on mega tourism projects through public-private-partnership basis including 4-5 star hotel, chairlift and Ski resort at Malam Jabba, Swat, tourism resort at Galliat, chairlift project from Naran to Lake

Saif ul Maluk, tourist resort at Village Hund (Indus River on M1), adventure theme park in Gailiat and Chairlift Project at Mushkpuri, Miranjani and Shogran.

He said this is a big achievement on part of provincial government to launch tour operating agency through Tourism Corporation KPK for attracting inbound and especially outbound Buddhist tourists to the archaeological sites of the country and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.