PESHAWAR, Pakistan: A high level meeting on Thursday discussed the arrangements for upcoming three-day Shandur Polo Festival to attract more foreign and domestic tourists to the spectacular event to be held from July 22-24.
Additional Secretary Tourism Muhammad Tariq Khan chaired the meeting. Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) Managing Director Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Deputy Commissioner Chitral Osama Waraich, Commandant Chitral Scouts Nizamuddin Shah, Deputy Secretary Home Department RehmatullahWazir, Deputy Director Protocol Zaheer Khan,member provincial assembly (MPA) from Chitral Bibi Fouzia, police official from Mastuj Tariq Kareem, Ibrahim Yousafzai PIA, Zamir Gul Zahid Deputy Director Information, Hayat Ali Shah Chief Planning Officer Sports & Tourism, Muhammad Ali Syed GM TICs TCKP, Tauseef Khalid Planning Officer Tourism, Wasiq Section Officer Tourism, Haseeb, Section Officer Sports and Advisor Tourism Dr Ali Ja, attended the meeting.
The event is being held regularly each year since 1930s from 7th to 9th July but to the month of Ramzan, the event dates were changed previously and this year Eid will be held on those dates that’s why it’s been extended a bit.
The official added that the game had got international fame, which is being played at the highest polo ground of the world at Shandur Pass in Chitral.
The provincial government, he said, through finance department provides funds to TCKP for arrangements of the event, which are released to the District Administration Chitral.
“The role of TCKP is that of a catalyst for promoting the festival through publicity campaign and it also establishes a tented village, tourism information centre and stalls during the event, including boarding and lodging facilities for both foreign and domestic tourists,” stated the MD TCKP while briefing the participants.
MPA Bibi Fouzia while highlighting the festival said that Gilgit-Baltistan should be taken on board immediately so that they could arrange their participation in a timely manner.
The DC Chitral highlighted that six bridges that come under C&W Department from Chitral towards Shandur needed repair. He said that funds should be allocated on time to reconstruct them before the launch of the event.
He also said that a multinational company should be taken on board for Shandur Festival sponsorship, as they would widely publicize the activity and give it national coverage.
As Chitral is the most peacefull region, it attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists annually, especially during the Shandur Festival and Kalash Festival.
Another great suggestion put up by the DC Chitral was that the Gilgit-Baltistan team players are not paid horse allowances, to which the chair said that he will look into it.
He also suggested that moveable toilets be placed at different areas towards Shandur to facilitate the tourists, and was agreed upon by the chair.
Since 2008, the Charter plane service has finished to Chitral but good news is that unlike last year where 2 flights per week would be undertaken but this year 4 flights are scheduled from Islamabad, Chitral and Peshawar.
Another great news was announced by Muhammad Ali Syed, general manager Tourism Information Centres, that now no NOC was required by the foreign tourists as long as they have a tourist visa. This, he said, will lead to a high number of tourists to visit the event and the scenic spot.