If you're planning to travel up north this summer, here's some good news for you.
The National Highway Authority and Kaghan Development Authority have reopened the Babusar Pass for tourists after six months.
The Frontier Works Organisation has cleared glaciers and snow from the road and reopened it for traffic. After this, travel time to Gilgit-Baltistan from Mansehra has been reduced by five hours.
The pass was closed in winters because of snowfall. Traffic was rerouted to the Karakoram Highway during this time.
Hundreds of tourists head up to Gilgit-Baltistan in summers, especially from May to August. Last year, all these tourist spots were closed because of the coronavirus lockdown. Locals suffered the most during this time because 90% of them depend on tourism for their livelihoods.
Tourists have been instructed to carry their coronavirus test results and Covid-19 vaccination certificates. It is mandatory for people to follow SOPs.
- Hotels and guest houses to only allow travellers with negative Covid-19 test reports and CNICs.
- Travellers above the age of 40 to carry their Covid-19 vaccination certificate issued by NADRA.
- From June 1, travellers above the age of 50 years won’t be allowed inside hotels without vaccine certificates.
- People above the age of 40 won’t be allowed to stay at hotels without vaccine certificates from July 1.
- Travellers to sign health declaration forms before entering a tourist site.
- Tourists to be served food inside hotel rooms.
- One person allowed to book one room.
- Tour operators and hotel management to ensure vaccination of staff members.
Tour operators have been instructed to submit details of tourists to their district administration before visiting the tourist spots. People have been told to wear masks at all times and avoid gatherings in large groups.
For foreign travellers, they need to read up on Pakistan’s quarantine and Covid-19 testing protocols before travelling.