Recently, we have seen a plethora of international bloggers visiting Pakistan, and everyone of them has got nothing but positive things to say about Pakistan.
Many of us have smiled at their bubbly and lively depiction of our country, hailing this recent wave of overwhelming support for reviving our tourism industry.
However, some of us believe that the coverage of Pakistan’s tourism potential by these foreign vloggers may be ‘too positive.’ And we can’t help but ask ourselves why.
And now, an American travel blogger, Alex Reynolds, who runs a thriving travel blog Lost with Purpose, has come out with an honest and transparent appraisal of the pitfalls foreign travelers are likely to encounter while traveling Pakistan.
Here’s what she said:
Pakistan is not an easy country to travel in
In her 15-minute video, Alex comes across as a genuine lover of Pakistan, and doesn’t shy away from speaking the truth.
Here’s what she says about the issues that can hurt foreign tourism in Pakistan:
1. The current social media coverage of traveling in Pakistan is skewed.
Right now, independent travelers to Pakistan face the following issues:
- Undue harassment from police, even intelligence officials.
- Unofficial restrictions.
- misleading and unclear bureaucratic procedures.
- mandatory armed escorts.
According to Alex herself:
In my own experience, security agencies have harassed me or my hosts in every single province that I’ve been to: Sindh Punjab, KPK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
She says there has to be a logistical overhaul so that foreign travelers, especially those who are coming to visit Pakistan for the first time, are treated better.
Its important to remember that these people are here to have a good time, and first impressions count for a lot.
Also, the government needs to push clear information for any travelers visiting Pakistan. Alex says there are numerous foreigners who still remain confused about whether they can get visas on arrival or not (thanks to inefficient bureaucracy and government departments).
Alex has some ideas here. Either the government can:
- remove NOC (No Objection Certificates) restrictions from all over Pakistan.
- Or, it can just put up a list that mentions all the places that foreigners can visit hassle-free.
- That way there’s no need for greedy police personnel and overbearing intelligence officials to harass travelers.
The idea is to promote Pakistan’s tourism, without compromising on its legitimate security needs.Clearly this shouldn’t be too hard to implement.
The Food Ranger, Eva Zu Beck, and many more western bloggers who are currently in the country, there’s no doubt that they have put Pakistan on the world map with their excellent coverage.
But like we mentioned before, some of these influencers are sponsored. Their expenses are taken care of, their itinerary decided, and so on.
Obviously, not every other foreign traveler (especially those from non-Western countries) could enjoy the same experiences. Perhaps its due to the ‘gora complex’. Pakistanis are known for ‘putting white people on a pedestal.’