Home Neighbours Afghanistan How The Taliban Is Managing To Bring More Tourists To Afghanistan

How The Taliban Is Managing To Bring More Tourists To Afghanistan

The Taliban has been under sharp criticism ever since it took over the governance of Afghanistan. Poor infrastructure, a falling economy and accusations of human rights violations – particularly against women – has hurt the image of the country. But surprisingly tourism to the country is rising. Government figures show since the Islamic fundamentalist group came to power in 2021, there were 691 foreign tourists. In 2022, that figure rose to 2,300 and last year, there were 7,000.

The reasons for this are many. According to an AP report the reduction of violence in the country, better connections to Afghanistan from Dubai and an enthusiastic group of male students are eager to show tourists has boosted numbers. It is also to do with the fact that tourists do not want the other alternatives available. According to Mohammad Saeed, head of the Tourism Directorate in Kabul, their biggest foreign visitor market is China.

Saeed’s contention is also borne out in China According to a 2019 study by the Chinese tourism agency, a tourism digital portal that works with nations to attract Chinese nationals to their country, Afghanistan is the second-largest growing tourism market for Chinese tourists. The first is Montenegro. This is because of daily direct flights from Kabul to Urumqi, the capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Region. This has enabled more Chinese tourists to go there along with Chinese businessmen

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Afghanistan still has problems. Many countries have boycotted Kabul because they do not recognise the Taliban as the rightful rulers. There are few Afghan embassies abroad making processing of visas difficult. However, within the country, enthusiastic students and the relaxation of the Taliban’s strict norms for women in regard to foreign women tourists, has helped. The AP report states that the Serena, the country’s first five-star hotel, has now opened women-only spas for foreign women.

(With agency reports)