Negative economic impacts of receding tourism industry in Badakhshan

Bawar Media CenterFebruary 6, 2021135

Local officials in Badakhshan say that the tourism industry in the province has stagnated following the outbreak of the coronavirus and the closure of borders, and that local revenues from the source have significantly fallen.
“In 1398, about 500 foreign tourists and more than 40,000 domestic visitors visited tourist spots of this province, but in 1399, the number of foreign tourists declined to 4 and domestic ones to 4,000,” Sediqi Lalzad, head of Tourism Directorate at Information and Culture Department of Badakhshan said.
According to Mr. Lalzad, the average income of local tourism companies and guesthouses from tourism was $500,000 a year, but after the pandemic hit, all economic activities and the business of tourism companies and hotels stopped.
Three tourism companies and more than 20 hotels working in the field have shut their doors, laying off all their staff, Lalzad added.
Abdul Samad Safari, head of Marcopolo Hotel in Ishkashim district, stated that he hosted dozens of foreign tourists at his hotel every year and that his income had provided employment opportunities for a large number of young people.
He has not had any business activity since borders were closed and economic activities halted.
Many foreign tourists prefer to travel to Badakhshan tourist areas through Tajikistan due to security concerns and the remoteness of transit through Afghanistan.
Head of Tourism Directorate in Badakhshan states that local government is trying to open the border with Tajikistan through talks with Tajik officials, and also intends to launch a big festival in Pamir Wakhan area, the second national park of Afghanistan, in 1400 to attract foreign travelers.
Reporter: Samiullah Saihon

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