The Punjab government of Pakistan has given priority to cultural preservation, environmental conservation, and socioeconomic improvement by introducing ecotourism in Fort Munro.
As part of its Master Plan for Developing Fort Munro as an Ecotourism Destination (2017-2024), The Urban Unit, a branch of the government focused on urban planning, has called on leading companies for expressions of interest to bid in developing ecotourism in Fort Munro.
Fort Munro, sometimes referred to as Tuman Leghari, is a hill station in Dera Ghazi Khan. A hill station is popularly defined as a town located in higher elevations but in the lower mountains of the Indian subcontinent. Hill stations are often visited during warmer seasons and in short stays. Fort Munro attracts many tourists, and efforts are being made to further invest in tourism in the area.
The Urban Unit recognizes the importance of cultural preservation and environmental protection as tourism grows in the area. Uncontrolled development and an influx of tourism can threaten the landscape, as it has in other areas in the region. Ecotourism would allow Fort Munro to welcome increasing tourism while also conserving the environment, the local culture, and providing economic benefits to the local people. In the long run, this can help keep Fort Munro, and Pakistan, competitive as a tourism destination. A few of the projects The Urban Unit has planned include:
- Tourism demand analysis based on a variety of factors including past tourism, trends in population growth, the environment, quality, and more.
- A study identifying sources of water
- An evaluation of local infrastructure
- Disaster risk
- Flora/fauna study
- Economics and competitiveness
- Restricted, cultural preservation areas
The studies will be followed by a Master Plan. The Master Plan will be a collaboration between the selected consultation company along with locals, academics, activists, decision makers, and others stakeholders. The Master Plan will be followed by a detailed blueprint of tourism zones.
Photo Credit:Younis Khosa Qatar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18196852
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