Tourism Authority, interest-free loan scheme for youth in the offing: Minister

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Atif Khan

PESHAWAR The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government has planned to set-up Tourism Authority to tap God bestowed tourism potential of KP besides launching of Rs1billion interest-free loan scheme for youth to take full advantage of their skills and abilities in the province in line with policy of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In an exclusive interview with APP here, Muhammad Atif Khan, Senior Minister for Tourism, Sports, Culture, Archaeology, Museum and Youth Affairs said the KP government was working on a plan to set-up the province first-ever tourism authority to regulate affairs of tourism sector through an effective coordination of the government and private sector on modern lines.
The proposed authority will have representations of all relevant departments, organizations and private sector, he said, adding the authority will work in line with vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to open up tourism vistas of KP to the world.He said government would make necessary legislation for setting up of the proposed authority as it will serve as platform to organize and coordinate with all the relevant departments and events in most effective manner at national andinternational level.
The major focused areas of KP government are to increase revenue and provide jobs opportunities to youth. These objectives can easily be achieved bybolstering tourism in the province, he said.Atif Khan said work on Malam Jabba Skiing Resort, which was destroyed due to militancy operation in Swat in 2008-09, was in full swing and will be opened for tourists in January next. In addition to development of existing tourism sites, the government will set-up new tourism sites at Hazara, Chitral, Dir and Swat districts to expend tourism in the province.
The government will bring improvement in the already established tourist ssites in hilly areas through building of roads and communication services under different uplift projects. Camping Pods, an eco-tourism-friendly project of PTI government, were alsoestablished at Thandyani in Abbottabad, Shahikh Badeen in D I Khan, Shahran in Manshera, Bishigram in Swat and Yakhtangi in Shangla that would help expand tourism and reduce load on established tourists resorts in the province.The bolstering of tourism in tribal districts is the top most priority ofPTI government and a survey will be conducted in these areas for identification of tourists sites and its development.To a question, the senior minister said government is endeavouring to promote religious tourism and KP s archaeological sites will be promoted throughbetter marketing with the help of foreign missions of Pakistan.
The archaeological sites at Tahkt Bhai and Swat will be explored besides development of museum sector on modern lines as this can attract a large number of foreign tourists and can earn valuable foreign exchange for the provincial kitty, he maintained.Atif Khan said role of Tourism Authority would carry significant importance as for as promotion of adventure, mountains and archaeological tourism of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is concerned.The Minister said PTI came into power on the name of change on second consecutive term in Khyber Pakthunkhwa and his party is focusing on provisions of jobs opportunities to youth.He said KP government will launch interest-free loan scheme worth one billion rupees for youth to enable them to start their own business without facing economic woes.
This loan scheme will help promote entrepreneurship and infant industries besides providing direct jobs to hundreds of thousands of youth in the province.Atif Khan said government has accorded highest priority to development of sports sector and decided to set-up 1000 playground in the province during the next five years. He said culture of KP was very rich and government will construct state ofthe art culture centres at headquarters of all divisions of KP. The Minister
said change cannot come overnight and time will be required for completion of these mega projects in the province.– APP

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