Pakistan a place to be With its diverse cultures, people, and landscapes, Pakistan attracted around 1 million foreign tourists in 2014, contributing PKR 94.8 billion to the country’s economy, which represented a significant decline since the 1970s when the country received unprecedented numbers of foreign tourists due to the popular Hippie trail. The trail attracted thousands of Europeans and Americans in the 1960s and 1970s who traveled via land through Turkey and Iran into India through Pakistan. The main destinations of choice for these tourists were the Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat, and Rawalpindi.
The country continues to attract an estimated 500,000 foreign tourists annually. Pakistan’s tourist attractions range from the mangroves in the south to the Himalayan hill stations in the north-east. The country’s tourist destinations range from the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Taxila to the 5,000-year-old cities of the Indus Valley Civilization such as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7,000 meters (23,000 feet). The northern part of Pakistan has many old fortresses, examples of ancient architecture, and the Hunza and Chitral valleys, home to the small pre-Islamic Kalasha community claiming descent from Alexander the Great. Pakistan’s cultural capital, Lahore, contains many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, the Shalimar Gardens, the Tomb of Jahangir, and the Lahore Fort.