More than 200,000 tourists visit Band-i-Amir this year
BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): Despite the absence of flights and security concerns on the highway, more than 200,000 tourists including foreigners visited rare sites in central Bamyan province.
Local officials say most of the tourists were from Kandahar, Kabul Ghazni, Daikundi and northern provinces. Some of the tourists travelled to the province along with their families.
Figures from the Information and Culture Department, which issues tickets to visitors, show the number is high.
Mohammad Ibrahim Abrar, head of Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC), told Pajhwok Afghan News: “Based on our figures, we have registered more than 200,000 domestic tourists visiting Band-i-Amir.”
He believed the number of domestic and foreign visitors would shoot up if security the situation on highways to Bamyan and around the country improved.
“Currently all highways linking Bamyan with Kabul are insecure and this discourages people from visiting the province in the summer,” he explained.
Mohammad Ishaq Azizi, head of tourist and culture affairs at the Information Department, said 3,800 Afghan and 244 foreign touristswere issued tickets this year for visiting historical sites in Bamyan.
There are 170 relics in Bamyan, including the eight registered with World Heritage Site organization and those receive tickets can also see the eight registered sites, he said.
Azizi added that trips of tourists to Bamyan had economic and job generation advantageous to the province and many people run business from the tourist industry.
However, he said, “Absence of air transportation facility, security problems on Kabul-Bamyan highway and bad security situation of the country have caused less people from across the country visit Bamyan.”
Bamyan has standard hotels and residentialareas for up to 500 foreign visitors, he said, adding there were also facilities for local visitors.
Najibullah, one of tourists who came from Kabul to Bamyan with his family, said they spent one week in Band-I-Amir, camping in a rented a tent there.
“We really enjoyed this trip; we never felt we are in Afghanistan because there we did not hear about any attacks, bombingsor violence,” he remarked.
In Bamyan, a major tourist draw, two ancient Buddhastatues were destroyed during the obscurantist Taliban regime. Other sites in the province, including Band-i-Amir Dam, attract many visitors within and without the country.
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