PESHAWAR: The provincial administration of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has launched tourism police to provide better security and services to people who are expected to arrive in the region on sightseeing tours in the coming months, officials said on Thursday.
Pakistan’s northwestern province has some of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country that lure thousands of backpackers and people vacationing with their families every year in summer.
“As you know, our province has immense tourism potential,” commandant tourism police Gul Said Khan Afridi told Arab News. “This requires us to have a specialized force that only performs tourism related duties.”
He maintained that local police departments had to deal with a lot of work even on regular days, making it difficult for them to give exclusive attention to tourists in their cities.
“The new force will play a vital role in boosting the provincial tourism industry,” Afridi added. “This initiative will bring more tourists and help generate more revenue.”
According to the provincial tourism authority, about 180 recruits were provided tourism police uniforms on Wednesday.
“Those who are part of the force have already started facilitating tourists,” said Saad bin Awais, who works as the media officer with the authority. “They will also help ensure smooth flow of traffic on Eid and other holidays while providing security to visitors.”
Awais informed the force would function as a special wing of the province’s culture and tourism authority, adding its personnel had initially been deployed at popular destinations like Swat, Chitral, Abbottabad and Mansehra.
Speaking to Arab News, Riaz Gujjar, head of the Lahore chapter of Pakistan Bikers’ Travel Association, praised the development, saying it would promote tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Sometimes we witness accidents in these tourist areas,” he said. “This initiative will hopefully change that and spur tourism.”
Gujjar maintained the government should widely publicize the development so the region also manages to attract foreign tourists.