About Responsible Trekking

Our Story

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The three-decade long journey in the realm of tourism in Pakistan, has led to a collection of unforgettable experiences and realisations, all while the tum,ultuous meanders, especially in ‘Adventure Tourism’ and the resultant highs and lows continue to pique our interest. Initially, the tourism sector in Pakistan had a limited scope owing to a variety of reasons, but the trajectory took a different turn and led to gradual expansion.

This journey was cut short by the 9/11 attacks which had adverse impacts on the tourism sector in Pakistan. Due to business activity having shrunk dramatically after this incident, many experienced professionals in the field of tourism were sidelined and compelled to change their professional paths and opt for alternate routes and businesses as some chose to go overseas.

However, the gloomy situation could not hinder the natural marvels of the country from garnering the recognition that they deserve, as the fact that a majority of the world’s most impressive mountain peaks are located in Pakistan (known as a ‘Trekking Paradise’) managed to successfully gain attention from national and international audiences alike as social media gained popularity as a medium of communication.

After much-awaited political and economic stability, the situation finally started looking up for Pakistani tourism especially after 2015/16 as security concerns started to lessen. This paved the way for a new wave of tourism in the country as domestic tourists flocked towards Northern Pakistan. However, this was not without its own set of challenges. Whereas previously, these lands were toured and trekked by an informed cohort of international tourists having illustrious travel backgrounds, the new set of individuals were significantly less well-versed with sustainability, preserving ecology and minimising their environmental footprint. Hence, due to a lack of knowledge amongst the professionals when it came to maintaining sustainable and responsible tourism that is environment-friendly, Pakistan faced a surge in issues related to the environment.

In 2018, after a long break, i took it upon again myself to engage and lead trekking groups to K2 and Nanga Parbat Base camps to see the situation on ground, I noted how the situation had deteriorated significantly since the ’90s. In areas where previously porters would be employed, mules were being used and the environment was suffering in the wake of uncontrolled, haphazard tourism.

Then, when I took to certain long treks again after two decades post 2020, the scenario before me was greatly concerning. A 22-day trek I took to Gondogoro-La, over the K-2 base in July of 2021 was an eye-opener. I witnessed that the manner in which adventure tourism was being operated suffered a glaring lack of sustainability, there was an influx of animal movement on the glaciers, the porters were suffering and the communities were not getting their share of perks. It was then when I resolved to make a change. This would encompass various challenges including combatting the environmental impact, ensuring that the interests of the local community are not only protected but maximised, animals are looked after and that the ethics of tourism are upheld.

All of this culminated into a new initative alongside Himalayan Holidays, in the shape of a company venture named ‘Responsible Trekking Pakistan’. The primary focus of this initiative would be to cater to and incorporate international tourism laws, minimise our carbon footprint and environmental impact, all while benefitting the local communities. We are in the process of continuously brainstorming fresh ideas that can be incorporated in our professional conduct as an effort to fulfill the commitment we have made. It is our mission to see to it that this undertaking grows into one that is of an international standard in the years to come.

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