PESHAWAR: The participants of round table discussion have said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is home to more than 6000 sites, mostly Buddhist, that provide an ample opportunity to promote religious tourism.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister for Archeology, sports Minister Muhammad Atif Khan has also participated in a round-table discussion with experts/stakeholders from Archeology, Religious Tourism and Marketing to devise a strategy for religious tourism in the province.
“We need to promote religious tourism as KP has 6000 archaeological sites,” the KP minister stressed during his address to the participants. “The current government is dealing with the tourism industry as a priority and improved security situation has paid off, leading to the rise in tourism.”
KP is central of ancient Gandhara civilisation. The province is home to the Takht-e-Bhai world heritage site. The Takht-e-Bhai along with other Buddhists religious and cultural sites like Jamal Garhi and Sehri Bahlol in Mardan, Ranigat in Buner, Hissar Dheri in Charsadda are well-known around the world and can be used as a source of religious tourism.
Atif Khan also stressed the importance of modernising tourism legislations and regulating the work of Archeology in order to cope with the changes in the tourism industry worldwide, such as digital transformation and marketing.
He directed the officials of the Archeology department to work in collaboration with experts to formulate a detailed policy document. The minister informed that the KP government working to preserve the cultural heritage of the Kalash community of Chitral and has allotted Rs560 million to the community.
Kalasha is one of the ancient religious community in the country which is known for its unique cultural heritage around the world. Its culture and religious festivals attract foreigners that is why experts believe that it can be increased if proper marketing tactics are used along with providing a safe environment.
The experts shared their experience/insights regarding the opportunities and potential related to religious tourism.