Officials in Afghanistan’s northern Badakhshan province said the highland area with a picturesque landscape could attract thousands of tourists annually if the security situation is further improved.
According to local officials, the beautiful landscape, with green deserts, mountains, forests, natural lakes, variety of wild animals and above all the pleasant weather, has made the hilly Badakhshan province an ideal place for visitors.
“With the improvement of security in Badakhshan province the number of tourists has increased there over the past few months,” provincial head of Information and Culture Sediqi Lalzad told Xinhua.
According to the official, the number of foreign tourists has also increased.
“A total of 297 foreign tourists visited Badakhshan province in 2018 but the number has increased to 461 last year with improvement in security situation over the past few months there,” Lalzad said.
The Afghan security forces have recaptured Wardoj, Karan-wa-Munjan and Yamgan districts from Taliban militants in Badakhshan province since September last year and have been advancing to secure more areas, according to security officials.
A total of 45,631 local and 461 foreign tourists have visited Badakhshan over the past one year, the official said, adding the number would increase if the security situation gets better.
Lack of hotels, scarcity of interpreters and above all insecurity have hindered the development of the tourism industry in Badakhshan province, Lalzad said, adding the problems have been partly solved as hotels and guesthouses are available nowadays for tourists and security has been improved.
Echoing the official, spokesman of Badakhshan’s local government Nik Mohammad Nazari said the provincial authority has been working hard to develop tourism industry in the province by constructing hotels, guesthouses and sufficient transport, and training professional interpreters.
The existence of historical monuments, wild animals including Marco Polo deer, snow leopards, buffalo, various kinds of birds including cranes and above all the Pamir ranges known as the roof of world, have added to Badakhshan’s beauty, the official said.
Like Badakhshan, all parts of Afghanistan, a country with 5,000 years of civilization and natural beauties, could boost tourism industry if the endemic conflict comes to and end, according to the officials.