July 13, 2024

Promoting Tourism in Afghanistan: A New Chapter

In a bid to reshape the narrative surrounding Afghanistan and boost its tourism sector, a Taliban-run institute is taking strides to train a cohort of around 30 men in tourism and hospitality. Despite the challenges posed by the country’s socio-political landscape and the global perception of its rulers, there has been a notable increase in foreign visitors, with numbers rising from 691 in 2021 to 7,000 last year.

Mohammad Saeed, head of the Tourism Directorate in Kabul, acknowledges both the advantages and disadvantages Afghanistan faces in attracting tourists. While proximity and safety concerns make it an appealing destination for some, difficulties in obtaining visas and limited transportation infrastructure present significant hurdles.

The students enrolled in the tourism program are enthusiastic about showcasing a different side of Afghanistan, aiming to highlight its rich history and natural beauty. However, the absence of women in the program reflects the restrictive policies imposed by the Taliban, which have also impacted the ability of Afghan women to pursue higher education.

Panorama of Kabul Surrounded by Mountains (Photos from pexels.com)

While the reopening of facilities like the Serena Hotel’s women’s spa signals a potential shift towards accommodating foreign visitors, concerns persist regarding the treatment of women and girls in the country. Travel companies navigating these ethical dilemmas emphasize the importance of responsible tourism practices and supporting local initiatives.

Despite the optimism surrounding Afghanistan’s tourism potential, the absence of female participation in educational and economic spheres serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges ahead.

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