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Important Message
Anupama Bangaru

Pakistan

Tourism in Pakistan has been stated by the Lonely Planet magazine as being the tourism industry's "next big thing". Pakistan, with its diverse cultures, people and landscapes attracted 1 million tourists in 2012 Pakistan's tourism industry was in its heyday during the 1970s when the country received unprecedented amounts of foreign tourists, thanks to theHippie trail. The main destinations of choice for these tourists were the Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat and Rawalpindi. The country's attraction range from the ruin of civilisation such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill stations, which attract those interested in winter sports. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7000 m, which attracts adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially K2. The north part of Pakistan has many old fortresses, ancient architecture and the Hunza and Chitral valley, home to small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha community claiming descent from Alexander the Great. The romance of the historic Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is timeless and legendary, Punjab province has the site of Alexander's battle on the Jhelum River and the historic city Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital, with many examples of Mughal architecture such as Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort. Before the Global economic crisis Pakistan received more than 500,000 tourists annually. However, this number has now come down to near zero figures since 2008 due to instability in the country and many countries declaring Pakistan as unsafe and dangerous to visit. Pakistan is such a diverse region, it is the center of various religions and settlements long before the creation of the nation that exists today. Today, Pakistan is formed of four large provinces –Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and four territories – Islamabad Capital Territory, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The cultural and physical diversity of Pakistan has developed the country into a tourist hot spot for foreign travellers as well as adventurers.