ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has decided to launch the Ghandara Strip, an area that is home to heritage sites and relics of the Gandhara Civilization, in a bid to attract international tourists.
The launch of the Gandhara Strip has been planned for after Eid-ul-Azha.
The initiative will offer a seven-day trip to travelers which will include visits to 22 heritage and archaeological sites, located in various cities of KP and Punjab, including Bhamala, Gor Khatri, Hund Museum, Julian, Peshawar Museum, Rani Ghat and Takht Bahi.
Apart from heritage tourism, the strip will also serve as a catalyst for the promotion of international religious tourism, since it is home to a number of sacred Buddhist sites.
Earlier the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, established the Kartarpur Corridor in its bid to promote religious harmony both within the country and across the border.
“Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan will formally launch the trail after Eid-ul-Azha,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Archaeology and Museums Director Dr Abdul Samad told APP on Tuesday.
The Director said that the department is focusing on international and heritage tourism so that maximum foreign tourists visit the country. “Our target audience is not only the followers of Buddhism but also international tourists.”
He said that KP is home to around 2,000 heritage sites and 30,000 relics of Gandhara Civilization.
He said that the Gandhara Strip would be promoted in the South East Asian States such as China, South Korea and Thailand to attract Buddhist monks and pilgrims.
He said the department also intends to hold the Gandhara Festival by the end of next month to sensitise the Buddhist countries regarding their centuries-old heritage scattered across the province.
Dr Samad informed that the initiative was earlier planned for April but it had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said that a plan involving multiple strategies would be put in place to exhibit KP’s tourism potential.