What post Corona travel in Pakistan is going to be ? This is not the only question many of us have in our minds. There are so many questions in our minds regarding travel and tourism future in general and Pakistan in particular (as this article is solely about post Corona travel in Pakistan).
We all have questions like:
- How soon we will be back to our favorite outdoor activities?
- Will we be able to tick off some treks this year?
- How easy it will be to travel in Pakistan once the Corona (COVID-19) pandemic is over?
- Is there any future of tourism industry in Pakistan?
- When will foreigners be allowed to freely come and go just like before Corona pandemic started?
There are so many questions which I cannot list in a single article. In this article I am going to shed some light on post Corona travel in Pakistan.
Covid-19 has devastated travel industry in Pakistan completely. It has snatched the bread and butter of hundreds of thousands of people. Though travel restrictions has effected everyone associated with travel industry but it has effected guides and porters the most since it was their only means of earning bread and butter. For example the people of Askole village, the village from where the trek to K2 basecamp starts, earn their livelihood through tourism during summer season and spend winters inside their bunker like homes. Now there is no tourism I wonder how will they earn their bread and butter this season? People associated with tourism in cities have at least alternate ways of earning their livelihood but people from villages don’t have this luxury.
Corona pandemic has already thrown out many startups out of business simply because they couldn’t afford to pay rents, salaries and utility bills while making no money from the same business. Few people have already started looking into other means of earning their livelihood while others don’t have reserved cash or alternate skills to earn money.
Though central govt and provinces have ended the knockdown, as of 15th June 2020, but it has yet to allow tourism. In order to allow tourism, govt has to prepare SOPs and that is taking time. Then there are differences between central govt and provincial governments e.g. The chief minister of Gilgit Balistan announced lock-down for further 15 days after the central announced end of lock-down.
Post Corona travel in Pakistan is never going to be same like it was before. At least not for couple of years. Many businesses will go out of business not just from tourism industry but from all sectors. Since travel is a luxury so in post Corona times people will focus on their jobs and businesses instead of spending money on travel.
Pakistani government is already buried under debts so it cannot offer stimulus packages to businesses like some of the western countries have offered to businesses in their respective countries. Before Covid-19 tourism was one of the hot businesses in Pakistan. Tourism was booming and security situation in country had improved a lot and government was making serious efforts to make visa process easy for foreigners. It required very little investment at least for tour companies to come into this sector and start earning their livelihood but that’s going to be same for all the reasons I have mentioned earlier.
For travelers it is also not going to be same like it was before. Travelers will have to follow the SOPs in order to travel. If travelers will not follow the SOPs then it might complicate matters further. I say this because individual provinces can put ban on activities even if central government allows them. If a province sees that the travelers are bringing Corona viruses to its boundaries then it can put ban on travel. Hence it greatly depends on travelers that how effectively follow the SOPs. Unfortunately people , whether educated or non-educated, in Pakistan usually don’t follow SOPs like people do in western countries. if you remember how the rich educated people did shopping for Eid Ul Fitr, when lock-down was eased for couple of days in Ramadan, then you will get my point here.
I hope that once Corona is over then govt gives some sort of packages to people in travel industry so that they can start afresh without facing the pressure of paying rents, salaries and bills from their pockets. After it is the responsibility of the govt to create jobs and on the top it was in current government’s manifesto to create millions of jobs.
I also hope that travelers will follow the SOPs strictly so that the tourism industry goes on without any hindrances from authorities.
Update 20-07-2020: Tourism still not official opened to northern areas. Though Gilgit Baltistan govt has announced that tourism has been opened with SOPs but one has to go through Khyberpakhtunkhwa, especially through the Babusar pass route, and KP govt hasn’t opened tourism as of yet. Hotels were already open in Naran but recently around 40 hotels have been sealed by authorities and tourists are being told to leave the Naran-Kaghan region.
How Covid-19 has effected your tourism related business?
What are your views about post Corona travel in Pakistan?
As a traveler are you going to travel as soon as travel ban is lifted or you are going to wait for Corona to end completely?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.