Working on the tourism industry -The Nation

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The unchecked development of the tourism industry has given rise to destructive events where people go to enjoy natural beauty but they confront unforeseen and drastic threats which are not considered. However, the tourism industry has a huge share in the wider economy of many states, particularly Pakistan due to its geography location which consists of beautiful regions.

Despite being blessed with these places Pakistan is encountering some unfortunate incidents because of development oversight. Here are some experiences which affected tourists at large. For instance, in January 2010, in a catastrophic landslide, the volume of 45mm3 flowed down the hill slope under the action of gravity which blocked the Hunza river at the point of Attabad– a village in Hunza valley. The landslide caused the blockage of the Hunza river and formed an artificial lake upstream within a few months. Later on, the debris barrier was breached for the flow of water from the lake; resultantly, an artificial lake known as Attabad Lake was founded. Thousands of tourists visit Attabad lake every season.

The interest of visitors in Attabad lake has also lured people from the hotel industry; nevertheless, it is seen that several quality hotels at the bank of Attabad lake were built. Moreover, large hotel conglomerates also announced the construction of five-star hotels at the same site. The Prime Minister has a strong will to promote tourism in Pakistan, but the vision is coming at the cost of human lives, as slow-moving landslides are common in Northern areas of Pakistan and this is likely to cause a problem later.

Adding to the above facts which are neglected by the decision-makers, the Attabad landslide was also a slow-moving landslide that plunged into the Hunza River at high speed and formed the artificial lake. If these counterparts that ensued in the other furnace lakes happen in Attabad lake on a large scale or slow-moving landslides plunge the lake at high speed, it would certainly end up as a catastrophic incident. There have been many events like this in history—the well-known Vajont dam disaster in 1963 in Italy.

In Italy’s misfortune, a massive rock fell into the dam’s reservoir and generated water waves as high as 100m. However, the vajont dam disaster killed 2600 people and damaged several shoreline structures. The loss of tourist life by such events can be a big setback to the tourism initiative of the Prime Minister as in the case of the recent Murree disaster, where unplanned construction caused bottlenecks in several places, thus blocking the traffic flow and forming a queue, which halted snow-removing operations. Consequently, people were forced to stay in their cars and many lost their lives.

It is acknowledged that Pakistan is blessed with some of the marvellous natural features that may attract tourists from all over the world. The revenue generated by tourism can boost the economic situation in Pakistan, but the same should carry relief and happiness to the faces of tourists and locals.

It may flourish with the proper planning of construction and reformation in the tourism industry. Similarly, other countries of the world are equally significant in managing these disasters to protect the lives of the tourists. Securing people by building excursion areas every state may develop enough revenue to compete with other states.