July 25th, 2021
Swat Bureau Report
Located on the upper reaches of the Swat River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kalam Valley is famous for its snow-capped mountain peaks, tall forests, a scattering of alpine lakes and large glaciers. In summertime, as temperatures soar, scores of tourists, adventurers and nature-enthusiasts make their way to the scenic north for brief respite.
Tourism is vital to the Swat Valley, contributing to nearly 40% of its economy. Kalam, a sub-valley of Swat, is among the many natural attractions of the region which has grown quite popular after the construction of the Swat Highway and Kalam Road. However, the Swat’s tourism industry was forced into limbo as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease in late March of 2020 prompted the Government to enforce strict curbs on travel.
These restrictions were only recently lifted after authorities began administering COVID-19 vaccines to the general populace in February 2021. With over 18,000,000 Pakistanis partially vaccinated, Kalam Valley is once again seeing bustle. However, it will not be a comfortable trip for many visitors relying on fast and quality internet services to navigate unknown areas, contact family, access social media and more.
As an increasing number of Pakistanis connect with others and live a part of their lives online, lack of internet access can be debilitating for many. People now prefer to travel to or extend their stay in destinations where they have guaranteed quality internet. For all its scenic beauty, Kalam Valley is at risk of falling off many tourists’ maps because of the absence of basic amenities, especially internet coverage.