Pakistan often quoted as tourism’s ‘next big thing’ for more years than we care to remember. It’s a destination that has so much to offer visitors; drive the Karakoram Highway through the endless peaks of the Karakoram Mountains, or wander through the architectural glories of the former Mughal capital Lahore, the ancient bazaars of Quetta or the cosmopolitan streets of Karachi. But every time the country seems to be gearing up to refresh the palates of travellers jaded with last year’s hip destination, world media headlines send things off the rails – again. No matter the attractions, tourism in Pakistan has always been something of a hard sell.
A glance at the map shows the country living in a pretty difficult region: always-unrulyAfghanistan to one side, Iran to another, and a border with India running through the 60-year-old fault line of Kashmir. But since the events of 9/11, Western pundits have increasingly been wondering if Pakistan isn’t just living in a tough neighbourhood, it is the tough neighbourhood.