Tourism boom likely in Kaghan valley as Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad Road reopens

MANSEHRA: The Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) reopened the Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad (MNJ) Road to all sorts of traffic up to the Batakundi area on Sunday, which will revive and boost the Covid-hit tourism industry in Kaghan valley this summer.

“If there is no calamity and weather goes well we expect a tourism boom in the valley during this season, as we have cleared the MNJ road to traffic till Batakundi one month ahead of its scheduled time,” KDA inspector Moazzam Khan told this correspondent.

The tourism industry was shut and traffic between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan suspended in October last year following closure of the MNJ road when Kaghan valley received a heavy snowfall.

The tourism industry of not only Kaghan valley, but of the entire Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also had suffered adversely because of the Covid-related restrictions and closure of the hospitality industry in the province in 2020 and 2021.

“The work on reopening of the MNJ road beyond Batakundi is well in progress and traffic between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan would resume as rest of the portion of MNJ roadhas been cleared up to Babusar Top,” Mr Khan said.

He said that tourism season in Kaghan valley, which usually resumed in mid-May in previous years, had taken off with the clearance of the main artery up to Naran, the commercial centre of the valley, earlier this month.

Seth Matiullah, the president of hoteliers association in Kaghan valley, said that thousands of employees related to the tourism industry were laid off in the valley because of the Covid-19 prevalence in the country.

“This time, we are going to carry on our business activities in the entire season and expect the influx of visitors on Eidul Fitr and Eidul Azha as well. We have not seen such an opportunity during the last one decade,” he said.