Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Coastal Tourism & CPEC: Opportunities and Challenges in Pakistan

Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Coastal Tourism & CPEC: Opportunities and Challenges in Pakistan

Article excerpt

Introduction

According to United Nations Environment Programme (2009), the exclusive blend of resources at the border of land and sea provide foundation for coastal tourism. These resources include beaches, scenic grandeur, biological and cultural diversity etc which support a broad range of tourism activities. The coastline of Pakistan extends 1050 km along the Arabian Sea, 350 km falling within Sindh province and 700 km in the Balochistan province. The coastal zone of the country is blessed with natural and cultural tourism resources.

The coastal region of Balochistan has cliffs, occasionally with rock head-lands and a number of sand beaches with shifting sand dunes. Mirza et al. (1988) reported a total of 7, 340 hectares of mangrove forests in the province. The coastal wetlands are important sites for resident and migratory waterfowl. Miani Hor, Pasni, Jiwani, Ormara and Hingol Hor are rated by ornithologists as the most important sites for migratory birds (Ahmad et al., 1991). Astola Island and Jiwani beaches provide nesting grounds for internationally endangered green turtles, while, the Ormara nesting site is of international importance (Groombridge, 1988). Hingol National Park and Buzi Makola (Wildlife Sanctuary) are protected areas of the region, while, Astola (Haft Talar) Island, Jiwani, Miani Hor, Ormara are recognised as Ramsar Sites (Ramsar Convention Bureau, 2001). The cultural heritage of Balochistan is exhibiting glimpses of the beginning of Stone Age man and its' steady development. Stone tools of Pleistocene period have been reported in the province. Architectural resources also exist in the form of forts, tombs, graves, mosques, and other historical monuments (BCS, 2000). Biological diversity, a number of internationally important protected areas, sand beaches, mangrove forests and globally renowned Indus Delta constitute potential coastal tourism resources of the Sindh coast. Mangroves offer an ideal environment for marine and terrestrial wildlife. Likewise, sand beaches along the Karachi coast provide habitats for survival of Green and Olive Ridly turtles. The history and civilization of Sindh is strongly associated with River Indus. According to Pirzado (2002), Indus valley civilization was thrived on the bank of river Indus in the 3rd millennium BC. World renowned heritage sites namely Mohen-jo-Daro and Makli are also located in Sindh province.

Regardless of the enormous coastal touristic opportunities, the coastal tourism development in the country is still facing a number of challenges. Some of these challenges are cross-cutting, whilst, some are sector-specific which collectively affecting the overall development of the sector. Amongst the sector's specific issues one of the most important is the lack of integrated planning and management strategies for developing coastal tourism. Keeping in view the pivotal role of coastal tourism in CPEC for boosting the national economy and uplifting the socio-economic status of the coastal inhabitants, this study has attempted to highlight the major opportunities and challenges for coastal tourism development and devised recommendations for sustainable coastal tourism development.

Literature Review

Honey & Krantz (2007) reported that tourism contribute about 83% of foreign exchange within developing countries. In contrary, a number of research studies have also been conducted which highlights issues related to tourism, in particular context of developing countries (for example, Scheyvens & Momsen, 2008; Cater, 1993; Dodds & Butler, 2010; Romati, 2007; Ryan, 2001; Scheyvens, & Momsen, 2008; Mathieson and Wall, 1982; Edwards, 1988; Pearce, 1989; Clark, 1996 and Orams, 1999).The coastal area has been regarded is a zone of extreme activities and an exchange zone both within and between social, cultural, physical, biological and economic progression. In order to reduce tourism related problems and ensuring sustainability of tourism industry, efforts are required to integrate tourism in coastal development. …

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