For the past 10-15 years, Pakistan has not been considered a safe place to travel, especially for Europeans and Americans. The 9-11 attacks put a great set back to the country’s tourism department. The country, which before was considered one of the best travel destinations by foreign tourists, had now become a name of fear for those who wanted to visit.
Before answering whether it is safe to travel to Pakistan or not, let’s look at why you should include Pakistan in your bucket list.
Why should you visit Pakistan?
Thinking about the vast landscapes, epic mountains, and jaw-dropping shrines, one does want to visit the country. Pakistan has so much to offer for those who like nature but unfortunately, it was not much of an option for those who wanted to visit Pakistan during the past decade.
Is it safe to travel to Pakistan in 2020?
It is a very short question but it does not have a short answer. Pakistan is a huge country with many religions, cultures, ethnicities and countless different regions. No country, in my opinion, is perfect. Every country has got problems of its own, be them major or minor. But once the problems start occurring at a large scale, and the world media starts highlighting those problems, then the actual problems start beginning.
Is the ice-breaking now?
Pakistan has been portrayed as the bad guy. The tourism rate had dropped to almost zero. Even inter-country tourism had come to a stop. But slowly and gradually people started coming out. Through social media, those who did travel started posting their own experiences which tempted Pakistanis to explore. Thus a new era began. Inter-country traveling increased. Places that had never been explored before were explored. People found peace away from the hectic busy life.
Now the answer to our question whether Pakistan is safe to travel or not? YES!
How social media is affecting the face of tourism in Pakistan
The world of social media is playing a great role in our lives. Many travel vloggers both Pakistani and foreigners have brought the beautiful sides of Pakistan in front of the whole world. Those who view the pictures can not help but want to explore the places themselves.
One of the leading Pakistani bloggers and travel vloggers, Umar Khan (Instagram: @Ukhano) through his exquisite pictures is opening the world’s eyes towards the places that have long been a secret.
In an interview with tripinfoblog.com, the Dutch traveler traveltomtom (Instagram: @traveltomtom), said: “Of course Pakistan is safe for travelers”. Tom has been traveling the world since 2012 and these words sure are comforting to those who are confused about coming to Pakistan.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government’s aim to boost tourism in the country appears to be bearing fruit, as the Conde Nast Traveller, a luxury travel magazine aimed at upmarket tourism, has named Pakistan as the destination its editors are most excited about in not only the upcoming year but also the next decade.
Gulf News has also declared Pakistan to be the 3rd highest potential adventure destination for 2020. The British Backpacker Society says that Pakistan is the most exciting destination right now.
Liban K2 summit © Libor Uher / Wikimedia Commons
According to Dawn, one of Pakistan’s leading newspaper agencies, tourism in Pakistan has increased by 317% over past five years. This figure is easy to believe when you see a large number of travel influencers and travel bloggers/vloggers promoting tourism in Pakistan.
Security situation today in Pakistan
Pakistan’s military has a stronghold in most parts of Pakistan to make sure the security conditions prevail as they are now. The Pakistan you see on news-guns, bombs and terrorists galore- is far from the actual reality, Yes there are places that are advised by authorities should not be traveled but except for those, the rest of the country is safe, more and more every day. The places which are deemed not safe are very difficult to enter anyway so that cancels any chance of you entering such places.
Places to avoid
The areas most ill-advised to travel by the Pakistan Government are The tribal areas including FATA and some areas in Baluchistan. The rest of Pakistan has been declared safe for traveling by the government agencies.
Areas that should be on your list:
The Northern province of Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has a lot to offer to tourists. It comprises most of the tourist areas of the country. The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has recently opened its tourism department, which is working tirelessly for bringing tourism to Pakistan.
Coming to Gilgit-Baltistan, another most visited part of Pakistan, which was the hub of tourism and the most favorite place for both mountaineers and bikers, back in the 1990s and early 2000s. But after the 9/11 attacks in America, it became a totally isolated region in Pakistan. But in recent years, it is gaining its position back as the favorite spot for tourism both by Pakistanis and Foreign tourists. The streets of Hunza are seen filled again with tourists and thus the smiles of the locals are brought back.
More to know
Another aspect which assures those who are still very much confused about whether Pakistan is a safe country to travel in 2020 or not, biking across Pakistan has become common. It has become normal for both male and female bikers to ride their bikes across Pakistan, in all regions and provinces, including Baluchistan. There are still not many solo women travelers in Pakistan but slowly it is becoming a thing.
Conclusion: Yes, is safe to travel to Pakistan..
Pakistan is brilliant, and more people should travel to Pakistan in my opinion. It has A LOT to offer both in terms of breath-taking sights and hospitality. Those who visit can not forget the hospitality of its people for a very long time. Maybe the facilities are not up to mark and there is still a long way to go to become fully equipped with facilities so no problems arise, but the rawness has its own beauty. Pakistan is not an easy country to travel in and in truth, it is still not advised for women and foreigners to travel without travel advisor and guides BUT, Pakistan is your travel destination for 2020 and I assure you, you will not regret it!
Featured Image: Lahore Museum © Guilhem Vellut / Wikimedia Commons