Abdul Qayyum Afridi

PESHAWAR: After closure of tourist spots due to coronavirus lockdown, tourists started visiting picturesque sites in merged tribal districts.

The natural beauty of these areas came into the notice of people of the country when people visiting there shared pictures and videos on the social media. Khyber tribal district, which shares borders with Peshawar, also has some attractive tourist detonations which got more attention during the lockdown period.

As Khyber district is located near Peshawar, therefore, many tourists from the metropolis also started arriving in Khyber. One such famous tourist destination in Khyber district is situated at the Pak-Afghan Highway. ‘Ghar Oba’ is situated in Ali Masjid area in Jamrud tehsil. Charbagh waterfall has also become a famous attraction for tourists from Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera.

Closure of other tourist resorts in the country proved a blessing in disguise for tourist spots in Khyber where tourist spots got attention on provincial and national level. The picnic spot of Ghar Oba has turned into a bazaar now as a large number of people visit the area. The establishment of markets and hotels in the area has boosted local economy and created job opportunities for local people.

A restaurant owner, Aamir, said while talking to TNN that local people used to come to Ghar Oba for picnic and they brought food with them, while this beautiful place was unknown for people for other parts of the country. He said the lockdown period diverted the tourists towards Khyber district and once who comes to these places comes again and again.

Aamir said Charbagh waterfall and clean water of Landikhana in Torkham has also become a tourist attraction. After seeing opportunities in these areas, people have started establishing hotels and markets. He said the menu of his hotel is like any other large hotel in settled areas. He said beds have been kept in flowing water like Kaghan and Naran where tourists enjoy the food and scenic beauty. He said tables and chairs have also been placed for tourists who sit there and do gossip. He said instead of going to Kalam and Swat, now the tourists from Peshawar prefer coming to Ghar Oba as this area is situated at a drive of just half an hour from the metropolis.

Aamir said he has employed 20 people in the hotel, while 30 people are working in the nearby market. He said there are also some other tourist places in Tirah, Chora and Bara areas of Khyber district. He said the government should develop these areas to create job opportunities for local youth.

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