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Friday Jan 24 2020
Web Desk

Pakistan seeks help from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to bolster tourism

Web Desk
The picturesque Hunza Valley seen in the background is one of the most popular tourist resorts in the country.  PHOTO BY: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is holding talks with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Malaysia to bolster tourism, said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday, a few hours after the UK announced it had eased travel restrictions for British nationals aiming to visit Pakistan. 

The UK made a major change to its travel advice regarding Pakistan, telling its nationals following a "wide-ranging assessment" that they could now "travel by road to the North of Pakistan as well as the Kalesh and Bamboret Valleys".

Read moreUK eases travel advisory amid 'improving security situation in Pakistan'

FM Qureshi said credit for the change in the UK's travel advisory goes to the entire nation and its armed forces. 

"Change in Britain's travel advisory is a major progress," he said. "I have spoken to the British foreign minister and we have also held talks with President Trump about it."

The foreign minister expressed the hope that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Malaysia would help Pakistan in promoting tourism, saying that Islamabad was already in talks with the three countries about tourism investment. 

"Prime Minister Imran has requested Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help Pakistan by investing in its tourism," he said. 

Speaking about the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) development, Qureshi said Pakistan will be taken out of the grey list if the case was heard on its merit. 

UK makes major shift to travel advisory regarding Pakistan

British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner, said: "It is 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," Dr Turner added. 

The statement also cited the long-awaited return of British Airways' flights to Pakistan back in June 2019, as well as the visit of UK Royals — Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge — to various towns and cities in the country in October 2019.

"The new travel advice for Pakistan reduces the section of the Karakoram Highway where the FCO advises against all travel to the area between Mansehra and Chilas alone (previous travel advice covered the full route from Islamabad to Gilgit). Travellers may bypass this section by taking the alternative route through the Kaghan Valley and Babusar Pass," it added.

"The FCO no longer advises against all but essential travel to the Kalesh and Bamboret Valleys.