PTI leader Imran Khan vowed to boost Pakistan’s tourism and it seems as though this promise is actualising. According to Conde Nast Traveller, a luxury travel magazine aimed at upmarket tourists, Pakistan is the most coveted travel destination for the upcoming new decade.
In the feature published on their website and written by Lizzie Pook and Tabitha Joy, Pakistan is an “adventure traveller’s must-visit country”. The feature reads, “Thwarted by tales of terrorism and Taliban rule, Pakistan’s tourism industry has been stymied for the past two decades,” adding that despite this, the country’s “ancient valleys [and] relaxed visa restrictions” were helping it get back on track in terms of tourism.
In describing the scenic appeal of the nation, the magazine mentions “Pakistan has more peaks taller than 22,965ft than China and Nepal combined, making it an almost magnetic spot for adventure travelers and intrepid hikers.” It further adds that “Visitors can follow in Michael Palin’s steps while traversing the 12,250ft Shandur Pass, home to the world’s highest polo field, or meet with the Kalash people of the Hindu Kush, famed for their cowrie-shell headdresses and brighter-than-bright embroidery.”
According to the magazine, the country’s impressive mountainous range isn’t its only attraction. Singling out Lahore, the feature mentions that “In Lahore, the sight of 100,000 worshippers crammed into the sandstone 17th-century Badshahi Mosque will leave you breathless, while Mughal-era architectural masterpieces stand resplendent on bustling street corners.”
The founder and CEO of adventure-tour operator Wild Frontiers, Jonny Bealby, told the magazine that he was seeing substantive improvements in Pakistan’s tourism industry. “A focus on security measures, which saw the British FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] lift its advice against travel to large parts of the north, and the election of Imran Khan, who has vowed to increase international tourist numbers, has already had an impact,” he said.
“Hardy visitors will find that little has changed since Mughal times—with the peaks’ gemstone mines, fairy meadows and winding trails worn into the ground by heavy-laden yaks—while the Karakorum, stretching upwards from the north-west frontier and carved into the ancient bedrock, is one of the world’s most astonishing highways,” it adds.
According to the magazine, its list is compiled by examining holiday destinations that are geographically diverse, as well as offer a range of trips, from eco-tourism to adventure. In addition, to Pakistan, the magazine’s list advises travelers to seek out Kyoto, Japan; Rijeka, Croatia; Panama; Rabat, Morocco; British Virgin Islands; Frisian Islands, Denmark; Qingdao, China; Lebanon; Portland, Maine, U.S.; Dakar, Senegal; Egadi Islands, Sicily; Paris, France; Siargao, Philippines; Galway, Ireland; Kangaroo Island, Australia; Salvador, Brazil; Armenia; Kyrgyzstan; Plymouth, U.K. as top holiday destinations for 2020.