By Taj Nabi Khan
ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (APP):The world’s best and award-winning US-based luxury and lifestyle travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveler listed Pakistan as the top holiday and number one adventure travel destination among 20 holiday destinations across the world for 2020.
Pakistan has ranked number one on the basis of various reviews from travel bloggers, Youtubers and tourism publications. The list has been compiled while keeping in view geographical diversity of the destination — ranging from eco-tourism to adventure.
No doubt, in the recent past, the country has seen an influx in international tourists and travel bloggers. The country had also been ranked as the world’s top travel destination by the British Backpacker Society, which described Pakistan as “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination”.
The magazine cited Pakistan’s exquisite landscapes, featuring towering mountains and green spaces in the North. Boosting some of the tallest mountains in the world, the magazine said that Pakistan is ‘an almost magnetic spot for adventure travellers and intrepid hikers. It termed Pakistan ‘a must-visit place’ for adventure travelers while highlighting mesmerizing scenic beauty of the country.“Pakistan has more peaks taller than 22,965 ft than China and Nepal combined, making it an almost magnetic spot for adventure travellers and intrepid hikers”, it noted.
“Visitors can follow in Michael Palin’s steps while traversing the 12,250ft Shandur Pass, home to the world’s highest polo field, or meet with the Kalash people of the Hindu Kush, famed for their cowrie-shell headdresses and brighter-than-bright embroidery,” it added.
But the country’s majestic mountain ranges aren’t the only attraction, according to Conde Nast Traveller. “In Lahore, the sight of 100,000 worshippers crammed into the sandstone 17th-century Badshahi Mosque will leave you breathless, while Mughal-era architectural masterpieces stand resplendent on bustling street corners,” it said of the provincial capital of Punjab.
The magazine also highlighted the recent visit of Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, to Pakistan and the measures taken by the incumbent government for boosting tourism in the country. “Owing to the relaxed visa restrictions and high-profile royal visit, the country is finally getting the focus it deserves”, reads a feature published on its website.
“Hardy visitors will find that little has changed since Mughal times—with the peaks’ gemstone mines, fairy meadows and winding trails worn into the ground by heavy-laden yaks—while the Karakorum, stretching upwards from the north-west frontier and carved into the ancient bedrock, is one of the world’s most astonishing highways,” it adds.
Talking to APP an official source in the PTDC said, “The number of foreigners, who visited Pakistan in 2018 on tourist visa stands at 17,823, which was 10,476 in 2017.” He said as many as 60,070 foreign travel enthusiasts visited tourist attractions in the country during the last six years, especially to the mesmerizing places located in the northern parts of the country.
A local tourist, Hamid Khan said that Pakistan topped in ranking due its geographical location, historical places, land of high adventure, nature, culture, trekking, mountaineering, mountain and desert High Himalayas, Karakoram and the Hindukush ranges with their alpine meadows and permanent snow line, its most hospitable people, Himalaya series of mountains, rivers, deserts, its weathers, fruits.
He said that it costs very little for the foreigners to visit and enjoy the beauty of the country due to exchange rate. It is also world’s best tourist place due to variety of seasons, scenic spots, rivers, oceans, fields, mountains, lakes, desserts, culture, oldest civilization and many more, he added.
Chairman National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB), Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari tweeted on his social media account while sharing the news, “My homeland tops the list because there is no other like it. Come…visit and explore Pakistan.”
According to the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), inbound tourism in Pakistan has witnessed a marked increase of over 70 per cent during the year 2018 as compared to corresponding year due to multiple initiatives of the PTI-led government.
In addition, to Pakistan, the magazine’s list advises travelers to seek out Kyoto, Japan; Rijeka, Croatia; Panama; Rabat, Morocco; British Virgin Islands; Frisian Islands, Denmark; Qingdao, China; Lebanon; Portland, Maine, U.S.; Dakar, Senegal; Egadi Islands, Sicily; Paris, France; Siargao, Philippines; Galway, Ireland; Kangaroo Island, Australia; Salvador, Brazil; Armenia; Kyrgyzstan; Plymouth, U.K. as top holiday destinations for 2020.