Flight cancellations; fragile ecology eclipsing beauty of Gilgit-Baltistan

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Flight cancellations; fragile ecology eclipsing beauty of Gilgit-Baltistan

Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Neil Hawkins called for the development of budget-friendly accommodations in the area

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Neil Hawkins highlighted that uninterrupted flights to Gilgit-Baltistan could significantly boost tourism in the region. He noted that Gilgit-Baltistan is blessed with natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for both local and international tourists.

Hawkins made these remarks during the launch event of “Reverie of Highlands” by Gaynor Shaw at the Islamabad Serena Hotel. Gaynor Shaw, wife of former Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Geoffrey Shaw, traveled from Australia to attend the event.

The High Commissioner emphasized the importance of cultural exchanges and the role of such works in fostering understanding and appreciation between nations. He also urged the government of Pakistan to address the frequent cancellations of flights to Gilgit, which force tourists to travel by road—a challenging option, especially for older visitors.

Hawkins acknowledged the fragile ecology of the region, noting that while tourism brings economic benefits, it also comes with environmental costs. He called for the development of budget-friendly accommodations, as not everyone can afford to stay in five-star hotels. Additionally, he stressed the need for efforts to maintain the pristine environment, highlighting that rubbish and waste in some areas detract from the region’s natural beauty.

In conclusion, Hawkins expressed that with a little attention and effort, Gilgit-Baltistan could become a world-class tourist destination, particularly appealing to international visitors.

Aziz Boolani, CEO of Serena Hotels, underscored the hotel’s commitment to supporting cultural and literary initiatives, marking the formal launch of this remarkable publication.

Serena Hotels, under the banner of Cultural Diplomacy, hosted the book launch of “Reverie of Highlands” by Gaynor Shaw at the Islamabad Serena Hotel. The event celebrated Shaw’s journey through the northern regions of Pakistan, capturing the enchanting landscapes, vibrant culture, and resilient people through her lens as an artist and photographer. The book launch was attended by diplomats, cultural patrons, tourism enthusiasts, and members of the literary community, making it a significant cultural event.

Gaynor Shaw, the wife of former Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr. Geoffrey Shaw, has artfully documented her experiences and insights in this compelling book.

“Reverie of Highlands” is a tribute to the beauty and diversity of Pakistan’s northern areas, reflecting her deep connection and appreciation for the region.

Former Pakistani diplomat Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry shared his impressions of the book, highlighting its significance in promoting Pakistan’s cultural heritage, followed by an inspiring speech from Shaw herself, offering insights into her journey and the creation of her book.