Responsible Tourism Efforts Underway in Pakistan’s North

World Bank Group (WBG), Tourism Department (Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (GoKP)) and Nestlé Pakistan’s collaboration on Travel Responsibly for Experiencing Ecotourism in KP (TREK) successfully completes two years.

By Syed Zain Akhter | June 2023

Countries with abundant and well-maintained natural and cultural resources tend to receive higher scores on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF) than those without. In light of changing global trends, policy makers and private sector players in developed tourism markets now prioritize minimizing tourism›s environmental impact and preserving natural sites. Pakistan recognizes the need to catch up in this area, leading to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the World Bank Group (WBG), the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (GoKP), and Nestlé Pakistan to launch TREK, an initiative aimed at promoting responsible tourism.

This initiative aligns with the priorities of the GoKP and involves raising awareness among visitors, private sector stakeholders, and local communities about the significance of tourism in creating jobs, generating revenue, and building resilience against climate change and natural disasters. TREK was launched under the World Bank-funded ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Integrated Tourism Development (KITE) project’ in 2020. Its focus is on preserving heritage, developing tourism infrastructure, managing tourist destinations, and promoting the inclusion and resilience of communities and private sector players.

Over two years, participants from the local government, communities, academia, and private sector in Peshawar, Abbottabad, Swat, and Chitral have received training in solid waste minimization and management (SWM), hygienic practices in the hospitality industry, nutrition, and waste audits.

The partnership’s objective is to safeguard the environment by implementing solid waste management, waste recycling, and discouraging the use of single-use plastics in the services industry throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). “The World Bank Group supports the development of green, resilient, and inclusive destinations for job creation and safe tourism experiences,” said Kiran Afzal, Senior Private Sector Specialist at the World Bank. This aligns with one of the partners’ global ambitions as well. Nestlé Pakistan is committed to sharing knowledge on waste management, improving processing technologies to minimize waste, and reducing the carbon footprint. “Nestlé will promote new behaviors and understanding through community engagement, cleanup activities, training programs, and facilitation by connecting waste recycling companies with local government officials,” said Sheikh Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability at Nestlé Pakistan.

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