By Aena Abbasi and Myra Ahmed
Until a few years ago, tourism was a concept practically foreign to us Pakistanis as we struggled to rise above surface-level problems. However, the country has recently seen major developments, and this has brought with it a thriving tourism industry. In today’s day and age, social media is an important aspect of our lives and is slowly become a tool of mass communication. Social media has played a huge role in reversing the years of negative portrayal towards Pakistan and changing perceptions towards the country. Renowned bloggers from within and beyond Pakistan’s borders have visited the country’s famous Northern areas, before heading down South to explore the city life. So, who are some of these vloggers? And why did they visit Pakistan?
Eva Zu Beck is a Polish travel blogger and YouTuber who documents stories of her travel expeditions on YouTube channel, where she now has 475,000 subscribers. When Eva began to make videos about Pakistan, showing the world the marvels it houses, Pakistanis were all-praise for her and her original, genuine content. Eva initially visited Pakistan for a very short period, but later came back to explore deeper. She then stayed for many months, traveling all over the country. She wrote her experience of one of the travel destinations of Pakistan, Skardu, as “a quietness and serenity in the grandness of landscape that stays silent and still even as you scream into the hills”. Studying modern languages at Oxford, Eva has always wanted to travel and explore beyond London, where she lived before her travel blogging. At the moment, Eva is in Romania, unravelling the depths of the European country.
Khalid Al Ameri is an Emirati vlogger, who recently visited Pakistan. With nearly 500,000 subscribers on YouTube, Ameri makes videos detailing his daily life, why he does what he does and often comments on social issues as well. Recently, Khalid Al Ameri visited Pakistan and produced a vlog about his journey. His wholesome vlog is adorned with breathtaking images and his interactions with Pakistani people. He said “My view of Pakistan has completely changed the minute I landed on Islamabad International Airport”. Ameri visited Islamabad, where he prayed at Faisal Mosque, before meeting the President of Pakistan, Sir Arif Alvi. The Stanford graduate has been extremely vocal about the negative perception towards Middle Eastern/Asian countries, and has recently also visited Lebanon, in an effort to support development there after the devastating blast two months ago.
Rosie Gabrielle is a Canadian solo biker, who discovers the world on her two-wheeler! Her experience was not only wonderful from an adventurous perspective, but also from a spiritual one. During Rosie's trip to Pakistan, she converted to Islam. She says it relieved an emptiness she had felt for a while and said that she believed "the universe brought (her) to Pakistan to show (her) the way". Her decision was welcomed greatly by Muslims along the world. She said that she found the people of Pakistan to be very hospitable and appreciated their selflessness and lifestyle.
Vladislav, a solo Russian traveller spent eight months in Pakistan and explored different travel destinations of country. In one of his social media posts he wrote why Pakistan is good travel destination for solo travellers, he wrote that there he experienced unreal hospitality, best hitchhiking experience and met open-hearted people.
Along with international travellers, Pakistani national travellers have also been exploring different parts of the country to uncover its breathtaking beauty. Saman Hayat Somroo is Pakistan-based international blogger whose main purpose is to inspire women to be self-sufficient, independent and travel solo. Maria Soomro is another Pakistani hitchhiker who has explored almost all the beautiful travel destinations of Pakistan and her Instagram profile is a complete tourism guide of Pakistan! Zaid Ali, Anushae Khan and Hira Bleeh have also created travel vlogs and highlighted the beauty of Pakistan.
CPIC, a British real estate company, has also been working to help bring Pakistan and its beauty to the spotlight. Their ‘Changing Perceptions’ program invites influencers from all over the world, taking them through Pakistan, visiting each and every aspect of the country. The two seasons features the likes of Ryan Riel and Lexie Alford, the Guinness World Record holding traveller!
It is clear that the past few years have been great for Pakistani tourism and with these international influences, the country has been able to improve its image and perception. We urge you to go and check out these YouTube channels for more inspiration on where to go and what to try in Pakistan!