British High Commission upgrades Pakistan travel advisory to ‘safe’

British High Commission declared Pakistan safe for visit and travel for UK citizens in their latest travel advisory report. The positive travel advice is attributed to Pakistan's improved security situation. The substantial upgrade in travel advice by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office followed a comprehensive analysis of Pakistan's security situation as well.

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British High Commission declared Pakistan safe for visit and travel for its citizens in the latest travel advisory report. The positive travel advice for Pakistan is attributed to its improved security situation.

The government of Pakistan including Prime Minister Imran Khan overwhelmingly welcomed the encouraging outlook of the British High Commission for Pakistan.

https://twitter.com/CTurnerFCO/status/1220680926788816904?s=20

The latest travel advice is a boon for the formative tourism sector of Pakistan, which is undergoing a phase of extensive development and upgrade.

The UK has changed its travel advice for Pakistan after five years. The latest travel advice, issued of Friday, now allows their citizens to travel north Pakistan by road up to Kailash and Bamboret Valleys.

The improved security situation allowed for the return of British Airways to Pakistan in June 2019 and the visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October 2019

The substantial upgrade in travel advice by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office followed a comprehensive analysis of Pakistan’s security situation.

British High Commission’s statement

British High Commission’s positive travel advice for Pakistan is the third breakthrough for the country since June last year. In June 2019, British Airways resumed its direct operations for Pakistan. Then in October, Pakistan hosted a five-day high-profile maiden visit of Britain’s royal couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton to the country.

According to the British High Commission, the above mentioned milestones prompted a positive analysis for Pakistan. The British High Commission reduced travel restrictions on the full route from Islamabad to Gilgit. UK visitors can now travel on Karakoram Highway but can bypass the section from Mansehra to Chillas and can take the route from Kaghan Valley and Babusar Pass. However, they have maintained a strict travel restriction on KP and Balochistan.

“The improved security situation allowed for the return of British Airways to Pakistan in June 2019 and the visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October 2019,”  the statement said. “Among other changes, the advice now allows for travel by road to the North of Pakistan as well as the Kalash and Bamboret Valleys,” the high commission said.

Dr. Christian Turner, the new high commissioner to Pakistan released a video message on Friday in which he said he completed the review of travel advice for Pakistan as a foremost task since he arrived in December.

“It is a great credit to the hard work of the Government of Pakistan in delivering improved security over the past five years. I am delighted that British nationals will be able to see more of what Pakistan has to offer,” said Christian Turner.

Read more: Tourism & Nature: World dazzled by Pakistan’s beauty in 2019

PM Khan’s appreciation

Pakistan’s Foreign Office and Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated the latest travel advice update by British High Commission.

PM Khan shared the news on his official Twitter account. He said the latest development will drum up the tourism sector of the country, beef up foreign earnings and investment, mitigate the current account deficit, and generate employment opportunities in the country.

In his multiple engagements at the World Economic Forum Summit, PM Khan touted the untapped potential of Pakistan’s tourism industry and his vision to strengthen it for economic purposes. He also acknowledged the overwhelming sacrifices laid by the security forces in a clampdown on terrorism and militancy in the country.

Significant Progress of Pakistan

Pakistan has significantly expanded its tourist influx in the past two years.

The visit of the Sri Lankan cricket team for a formal cricket series marked the return of international cricket after more than a decade followed by a tour of the Bangladeshi cricket team. International cricket suspended in Pakistan following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2007.

The incident dipped Pakistan’s image globally. Pakistan continued to be branded as an unsafe and terrorist country for many years afterwards.

After her recent visit, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton described the royal tour to Pakistan ‘really special’ in a rare interview with CNN in Lahore. The five-day tour enabled the royal family to see a lot of the country.

The Duchess in her interview cherished visiting the country’s unique landscape in Chitral and engaging in communal activities during her visit. “It was amazing seeing some of the geographies yesterday, but then to see some of the community activities today has been special,” the duchess said.

In his multiple engagements at the World Economic Forum Summit, PM Khan touted the untapped potential of Pakistan’s tourism industry and his vision to strengthen it for economic purposes

With the royal tour came the heavy international media coverage that partially absolved Pakistan from negative perception.

A lot is happening at the tourism front in Pakistan; several international travel bloggers toured Pakistan, disseminating the positive ‘word of mouth’ for the country through their social media profiles.

Furthermore, Pakistan has been classed as the top traveling destination for 2020 by Travel Company Wild Frontiers.

Read more: Guidelines to improve Tourism framework in Pakistan!

For the past couple of months, the international media has been raving about country’s potential for tourism. A couple of international media reports had declared Pakistan the best tourist destination for 2019. These recent reports hint, that if Pakistan continues on its current trajectory, it will continue to be branded as the top tourist destination for 2020 as well.

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