Top leadership of Pakistan always propagates the immense tourism potential of Pakistan at every forum but no practical steps are witnessed in this regard; Murree tragedy is a proof.
In the pretext of the recent Murree tragedy where at least 23 people died in cars stranded in the snow, a question definitely arises are we actually ready for tourism in Pakistan. To figure out the causes of this horrible incident, we need to look at the multiple factors which led to the deaths of the tourists.
First of all, it was criminal negligence on the part of government departments including local administration, police, traffic squad, snow clearing squad, and other related departments who were not there to rescue the jammed tourists in such weather conditions. The tourists kept calling the government departments but nobody turned up to offer any help in this regard. Those who were there to clear the roads were not equipped enough to handle the situation aptly. Meanwhile, such unpreparedness and mismanagement led to the loss of so many precious lives.
If we look even closer, it all went wrong right in the beginning when almost one lac vehicle entered Murree where the actual capacity for car parking is 4000 vehicles at a time. There was no mechanism to stop the vehicles from entering the city when its parking capacity was full. The tragedy could have been avoided if the city would not have been overcrowded.
The tragedy also questions the performance of the tourism departments in Pakistan that are unable to develop some sustainable model for winter tourism in Pakistan since its inception. Top leadership of Pakistan always mentions and propagates the immense tourism potential of Pakistan at every forum but no practical steps are witnessed in this regard; Murree tragedy is a proof.
The other side of this episode is that as tourists we always need to be careful and responsible as irresponsible tourism may cause multiple implications for both human lives and the environment. Traveling anywhere without checking the weather updates, parking and accommodation facilities, and security situation is a sheer risk and that is what happened in Murree. People rushed to Murree to enjoy snow falling without any planning; the city got overcrowded; local administration was sleeping and the disaster took place.
Now, all we need is to prepare ourselves on all the fronts which are inevitable to develop a sustainable tourism model in Pakistan. The government should engage all the tourism ministries, departments, boards, committees, and other related sectors for the development of a sustainable tourism model in Pakistan that can better exploit the wonderful tourism potential of the country.