QUETTA: Thousands of tourists from Karachi visited Quetta and Ziarat to see the snowfall and enjoy the cold December weather this year.
Traditionally, the people of Balochistan move to Karachi during winters every year. People suffering from cough and asthma also spend their entire winters in Karachi to avoid the severity of the illness.
But this year it was different. Such a massive influx of visitors in Quetta has never been observed in the past. Vans and coasters roaming on the roads bring tourists from Karachi. This has added an extra charm to the city.
Even according to conservative estimates, up to 8000 tourists visited Balochistan this past week. 3000 out of these visitors returned to Karachi the same day due to the unavailability of accommodation in hotels. But despite the cold weather, hundreds of them spent the nights in their vans and coasters to wait until the next day for snowfall.
Sufiyan Yaqub is working as Finance Manager in a private company in Karachi. He had never seen snowfall before, and he was visiting Quetta and Ziarat for the first time. In a conversation about this experience, he said life in Karachi was too fast. “I feel peace of mind in the cool winds of Quetta”, he said. The food, people, and beauty of the city are amazing, he added.
His wife Sana complained about the early closure of the restaurants. She was also feeling a bit of a headache after being stuck in traffic for so long along with her family. But she said she was loving the weather in Quetta as the temperatures never went into negatives in her native Karachi. She added that her family was planning to visit Quetta every year during winter now.
Abdul Jalil has a 20-year experience in hotel management. Talking to Naya Daur, he said that the early closure of hotels following the government SOPs had caused difficulties for the visitors. Unavailability of hotels and proper guidance for the tourists were prime concerns that the government needed to tackle, he added.
Families purchased warm clothes and dry fruits from Quetta. But several among them also complained about unnecessarily high prices of the edibles. Normal charges for one portion with two rooms in Ziarat is 4-5 thousand rupees, but Karachi tourists were reportedly charged 15-20 thousand rupees per day.
Muhammad Ibrahim, a dry fruits seller said that he had never seen such crowds of visitors in the past seven years. “40-50 tourists have come to my shop every day in the past week. The surge in the number of tourists has given a boost to the local business”, he said.