Is Pakistan Easy to Travel In? Travel Blogger Alex Doesn’t Think So
Letting people be honest about what it is like traveling in Pakistan would only benefit the country
In the starting of this month, Pakistan Tourism Summit was held in Islamabad. The summit intended to promote tourism in the country but it was highly criticized for white-washing the summit.
The summit only featured foreign travel bloggers in the country, not recognizing the efforts local travel bloggers, who have devoted their lives to promote tourism in Pakistan, have made.
But seems like that was not the only criticism the summit received. American travel blogger, Alex, in her latest video mentioned that she was “silenced” at the summit because she had intended to provide a more critical view of traveling in Pakistan.
Alex, who has a travel blog titled ‘Lost With Purpose’, believes that letting people be honest about what it is like traveling in Pakistan would only benefit the country.
Here are 5 takeaways from Alex’ video. ‘Why is travel media dangerous for Pakistan tourism?’ We hope someone is taking notes.
“Social media coverage is misleading”
Alex mentions that “Social media coverage of Pakistan right now is actually dangerous for the future of the country’s tourism.”
For independent travelers, traveling around Pakistan isn’t easy. The procedure is not only highly bureaucratic but also entails harassment by officials, unofficial restrictions and mandatory armed escorts.
“The government and the media needs to stop publicizing policy changes until they have actually been enacted”
Recently, for instance, the government publicized visa on arrival facilities to citizens of selected countries. But Alex noted that this is yet to be enacted. Publicizing before enacting misleads independent travelers from these countries, as they arrive in the country only to find out “there is no visa on arrival.”
“Pakistan has a gora complex”
Pakistan’s “hangover from the colonial era” makes it put white, western influencers at a higher pedestal. As a result, the country treats them better than their non-white counterparts.
However, as Alex mentions everyone has different experiences and only promoting experiences of white, western influencers overshadows the many problems people of color face. This only makes people believe that everything is honky-dory in the country.
But this is far from the truth as local travelers and travelers of color are treated differently and do not have the same access white influencers do. They are not celebrated the same way.
Pakistan has a number of local bloggers, vloggers and travelers who have been documenting the beauty of the country even during uncertain times. They need to be uplifted. “The government, the media, even you, the average viewer need to start supporting more local influencers, and influencers of color.”
“The potential for culture clashes in Pakistan is immense”
The current social media coverage makes Pakistan look like a culturally sensitive country. However, that’s not true.
“You have to be careful when traveling here, and the media coverage says nothing about that. Tourists don’t realize that they should keep their atheistic beliefs silent at the dinner table. Couples might not realize they cannot kiss in public or even hold hands, and that it’s better to say that they’re married if they’re not.”
Having said this, Alex does think – like many other foreign influencers – that Pakistan is worth the hype. However, criticism needs to be considered to manage the potential the country has properly.
Pakistan's tourism scene is about to explode, thanks to the power of positive social media… but is that a good thing?This talk was originally meant to be given in front of Pakistan's Prime Minister at the controversial Pakistan Tourism Summit in Islamabad on April 3, but I was censored by the organizers once they realized its critical nature. Let's see if the internet is more willing to listen than they were.What do you think: is Pakistan ready for the wave of tourism that's coming?
Posted by Lost With Purpose on Saturday, April 13, 2019