PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan has said that tourism industry in the province suffered a loss of Rs53 billion due to coronavirus lockdown.
Talking to media persons in Saidu Sharif, the chief minister said tourism industry will be reopened within a week or two if the situation of coronavirus improves.
Mehmood Khan said illegal cutting of forest wood in Swat will never be tolerated. He said additional one billion trees will be planted this year.
The chief minister hailed the policy of Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding coronavirus lockdown which is yielding far reaching impacts.
Mehmood Khan said the provincial government has allocated Rs19 billion for Swat Expressway which will facilitate the passengers and promote tourism. He said funds for tackling coronavirus have been allocated from the annual development funds. He said annual development projects could be affected due to diversion of funds for coronavirus.
Tourism sector in Pakistan, particularly in KP, was witnessing boom due to certain reforms and new policies of the government, but coronavirus lockdowns spoiled all these efforts. Mehmood Khan also talked about damages to the tourism sector during a media interaction last week.
After attending the meeting of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in Peshawar, Mehmood Khan had said that the pandemic had badly affected the tourism sector. He had said that people associated with tourism industry are facing a lot of difficulties due to the lockdown. He said the government is fully aware of these problems, but it has taken lockdown measures to protect the people from the disease.
The chief minister said coronavirus cases were decreasing due to effective measures by the government, adding that he hopes for normal situation soon. He said the issue of reopening of tourism industry will be discussed in the next meeting of the National Coordination Council (NCC). He said the federal and provincial governments after Eidul Azha will discuss the option of reopening of tourism sector and will go ahead if the situation is normal.
The chief minister urged the need for continued precaution to thwart the threat of a second wave of the disease.