Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

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PIDE Knowledge Brief No. 118:2024
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Forest Based Tourism Services In Pakistan

Publication Year : 2024
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Tourism, including nature-based is one of the driving forces for economic development. Nature-based tourism refers to tourism leaning on the destination area’s natural environment as its key attraction, or tourism primarily concerned with the direct enjoyment of some relatively undisturbed phenomenon of nature. The demand for nature-based tourism has steadily grown and is the most rapidly an expanding sector within tourism across the world. Same holds true for South Asian region. As it is a prominent region with distinctive landmass, mountains, forests, rural tourist spots, rivers, beaches, and different climatic zones.

Nevertheless, forests are the main source of tourism in Pakistan even though the country is a forest poor country with less than 6 percent of total area under forest. Most of the tourism in Pakistan prevails in the northern areas of country which are rich in natural forests. This study provides insights into the Pakistan’s forest-based tourism, traveling and convenience dynamics of tourist point selection and approximate welfare from tourism sector together with costs incurred. Certain recommendations have been suggested as well for exploiting the full potential of Pakistan’s forest based tourism. Survey data from the study entitled “Assessment of Demand and Supply of Forest Products and Services, to Quantify Contribution of Forests to Rural Livelihood and National Economy” have been used for data analysis. The study was jointly conducted by Ministry of Climate change, REDD+ Pakistan and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad.


Tourism is one of the many untapped potentials of Pakistan and forest-based ecosystems are at the helm of tourism. This sector particularly, remains a highly ignored while quantifying its economic contribution. Most of the tourism in Pakistan, especially to the northern areas of country, is solely linked with the forest endowment of the region while there is great promise for it in central and southern regions as well. 

Tourism Snapshot

The analysis is based on the data from top 20 tourists’ sites where both the profiling and interviews with tourists were carried out. More than 7 million tourists visit the 20 top tourist hotspots across Pakistan annually. The highest visited places are in Punjab (Murree, Kallar Kahaar) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Swat, Galiyaat). This is then followed by Gilgit Baltistan and AJK. In Balochistan, most of the tourists just spend daytime primarily in Quetta and Kund Malir, as most of the tourist are local. Sindh has the least number of tourists. Table 01 below shows the disaagreated data of number of tourists in each province/region, average days spend at a place and the average distance of tourists travelled to tourist destinations.

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