Inauguration of Ziarat Ecotourism Center

22 May 2012 | International news release

The Ziarat Tourism Center was inaugurated by Maulana Abdul Samad Akhundzada, Minister for Forest and Wildlife, Government of Balochistan in a ceremony held on 22nd May, 2012.

Other prominent persons, present in the ceremony were: Mr. Mohammad Imran, DFO Ecotourism Department, community members of Valley Conservation Committees, Tribal Elders and government functionaries.

Establishment of the Ziarat Tourism Center was a component of the Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Production Systems in the Juniper Forest Ecosystem Project, which has been implemented by IUCN in close collaboration with the Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department. The project aimed at conserving biodiversity in Juniper forests of Ziarat through making existing production activities biodiversity friendly. For this purpose the project focused on reducing negative impacts of production activities in various sectors including tourism.

The ceremony was hosted by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature at Al-Hijrah Residential School & College, Ziarat and the ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the Ziarat Tourist Center. Tour of the location was facilitated by IUCN Country Representative, Shah Murad Aliani. 

While briefing about the background of Ecotourism Centre, the Project Manager, Mr. Inamullah Khan said that Ecotourism is a form of tourism which effectively generates income for the local people in a manner that the present generations get benefits from nature with ample opportunities left for the future generations, thus ensuring sustainable use of natural resources. Additionally, it helps create awareness on the importance of environment conservation among locals as well as visitors. Ecotourism is mainly managed by the local people, thus maintaining a close connection with the local culture and tradition. The visitors should also maintain respect and concern for the local culture and traditions. This ecotourism management plan for Ziarat focuses on the promotion of environment friendly and responsible recreational tourism by effectively involving all the concerned stakeholders.
 
The Chief Guest, Maulana Abdul Samad Akhundzada spoke about the conservation of the Juniper trees and sustaining natural resources for the future generations. He also suggested ways for the local community for boosting tourism and improving basic facilities for visitors such as providing camping equipment for rent and upgrading the restaurants and hotels.

DFO Mohammad Imran lauded the efforts of IUCN in completing the construction of the Ziarat Tourism Center, as well as all the work done towards assisting and educating the local communities in maintaining the Juniper population and providing solutions for water conservation techniques.

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Zabardast Khan Bangash, Manager IUCN Balochistan Programme,
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Quetta Phone: +92 8128240450-2, Fax: +92 812820706
Email: zabardast.bangash@iucn.org