–Students appreciate efforts being made by authority for promotion of city’s heritage
–WCLA officials express resolve to increase tourism, promote country’s positive image
LAHORE: With the new year starting Tuesday, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has decided to take even more tourism initiatives than 2018 to promote the beautiful heritage of Old Lahore; whereas an international heritage conference, Mela Lahore Andar and Lahore Talkies would be the mega projects to look forward to.
As per the details of other activities, new routes for free guided tours will be launched in February and special weekend tours would also be conducted to different monuments fortnightly, the main objective of which would be the marketing of the Walled City.
The decision to promote tourism in Old Lahore has been encouraged by the citizens, especially university going students, however, they have said that students should be facilitated by the authority.
“I am following WCLA on social media and think it is doing a good job by promoting a soft image of the country, but at the same time it should facilitate the students by offering discounts and organising a few activities with cheaper tickets,” said a student, Ramsha Ashghar, while speaking to Pakistan Today.
Another student, Saira Malik, said that WCLA needed to involve students in tourism activities as a number of them were willing to work as volunteers for different events and tourism. “Also, there should be internships and tourism training courses by WCLA, wherein students can learn the practicalities of the field.”
Hashim Ali said that WCLA needs to introduce more tourist trails inside the Walled City as they had visited the Royal Trail multiple times and now wanted to explore other hidden gems.
“WCLA has the potential for the promotion of tourism which is not seen in any other departments working in heritage-related fields. But it should work towards organising trips to other monuments as well such as the Shalimar Gardens and offer facilities like those available in foreign countries,” said a student, Kashif Abbas.
WCLA Tourism Deputy Director Adnan Zahoor, while speaking to this scribe said that the authority was planning to introduce furthermore tourism activities in 2019 so as to increase the tourist footfall at the Old City.
He further said that the tourist footfall on the Royal Trail which stretched from Delhi Gate to Chowk Wazir Khan was almost 75,000 in the previous year and WCLA aimed to double the numbers.
“WCLA has signed an MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] with Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) to encourage its students to visit the Walled City and we would be signing similar agreements with other educational institutions.”
WCLA Media and Marketing Deputy Director Tania Qureshi said that they would also be introducing new attractions in the History by Night tours this year.
“We will be having a mega event Mela Lahore Andar in February which will be set up on the Royal Trail and a heritage conference in March wherein we will be highlighting the heritage and culture of Pakistan along with the efforts being made to restore it. WCLA will also be holding a film festival in April.”
Marketing and Tourism Director Asif Zaheer said that all of WCLA’s events were being held with an objective to increase tourism in the Walled City and the Lahore Fort.
“We will start guided tours of the Lohari Gate Trail and Taxali Gate so that the lesser explored parts can be visited by the tourists. Our other projects like Dastaan Goi and Sufi Nights will be held on a quarterly and monthly basis,” Zaheer said.
WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said that they aimed to revive the old culture of the city and attract tourists towards its heritage. “We are planning several activities to attract tourists and a few mega-events will also be held soon,” he added.