Tajikistan---Land of Pamirs
Republic of Tajikistan (Russian: Республика Таджикистан), is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan are separated from Tajikistan by the narrow Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan in the south.
Most of Tajikistan's population belongs to the Persian-speaking Tajik ethnic group, who share language, culture and history with Afghanistan and Iran .
Once part of the Samanid Empire, Tajikistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in the 20th century, known as the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR).
Mountains cover over 90% of this Central Asian republic. In the west The Pamirs, located principally in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) ineastern Tajikistan, are one of the highest mountain ranges in the world, containing peaks over 7000m.
The territory comprises a large high plateau area (Murghab district in the east) and several deep valleys running west into the Panj river (in antiquity known as the Oxus; in local languages “panj” means “five” and the name Panj is said to come from the fact that the five main Pamir valleys feed into it). GBAO shares frontiers with China in the east, Kyrgyzstan in the north and Afghanistan and south.
The region is inaccessible to road traffic for as much as six months in winter, and was considered during the Soviet period as a strategic border area to which special permission was required for travel. It is therefore very much “virgin territory” for tourism, with little relevant infrastructure.
As such, it combines extraordinary attractions for adventure and ecotourism with untouched high-altitude landscapes and many opportunities for walking and trekking. The Pamirs were on one of the southern branches of the Silk Road and possess fortresses and other monuments bearing witness to the traffic of goods and ideas (petroglyphs, Buddhist monasteries, shrines and caravanserais). The “Great Game” was played in the Pamirs.
The Pamir Mountains are the strongest product of this country, but the visa and entry permit system is one of the major impediments for the development of tourism towards the Pamir Mountains. When you travel along the Afghan-Tajik border, you need to have a special permit. When you wish to travel to the Badhakshan region, again you need a special permit from the Governor of Badhakshan.
In all these downbeat states of affairs, Tajikistan tourism is surviving, and if foreign donors support Tajik tourism development without blending it with Afghanistan’s north tourism initiative, Tajikistan can become a hub of tourism activities in Central Asia.
Tajikistan has everything to offer - friendly people, beautiful valleys, and an abundance of natural beauty with the best possible opportunities of developing ecotourism.
Tajikistan still has a strong potential to be an attractive destination for both leisure and business tourists. The beauty of Pamir Mountains could become a high-profile attraction for adventure tourists, while in business terms, the country may benefit from a growing number of business arrivals through investments in its hydro reserves.
The Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association (PECTA) is working well to develop tourism through its members in Pamir mountain region. PECTA was founded in 2008 by a group of private-sector tourism businesses with the purpose of developing the tourism sector in the Pamirs through collaborative work.
PECTA is a membership-based association, which represents the Pamirs as a destination in national, regional, and international markets. Association members are grouped into categories based on services they provide and include tour operators, direct tourism service providers, guest houses, hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and home stays. By marketing the services of these members and offering support through training and capacity building, along with representing the destination as a whole, PECTA plays the role of a Destination Management Organization (DMO). Tours and services provide trekking, horse and camel riding, cultural tours, alpine and rock-climbing tours, jeep safaris, bird-watching and wild life observation tours, pilgrim tours, tailor-made tours, visa and permits, transfers, transportation, accommodation, guides, and equipment rental.
Pamir Highway Adventure and the Murghab Eco-Tourism Association (META) are founded and run by local people and promote tourism of Pamirs and Tajikistan.
The Murghab EcoTourism Association was established in 2003. The association participants, chosen from among the most economically-vulnerable families, received basic training, and a code of ethics was adopted by all stakeholders. The association has subsequently become a revenue-generating activity due to collaboration with other local development agencies. In particular, an association of women artisans has produced local craft goods that are now exported to various outlets in Central Asia and Europe.
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