Fazilka to develop border area tourism

Fazilka is a small city near the Indo-Pak border. Though not ranked among the best tourist spots in the country, the city is now aiming to make a mark on the tourism map. The plan is to make the city into a tourist area by encouraging border area tourism. The venture is planned with the support of civil society, hospitality industry and district administration. They had conducted a conference named ‘Fazilka Rising’, in order to discuss on utilizing city’s tourism potential.

The delegates from Punjab Tourism Department also attended the conference along with other major dignitaries from the hospitality industry. Fazilka is also habitat to Asia’s biggest open black buck wildlife sanctuary managed by the Bishnoi community. The city also offers diversity in farmhouse tourism. The authorities consider this as a good employment opportunity for the local youngsters. The youngsters can be trained in soft skills.

“People know about the joint Indo-Pak retreat ceremony at Wagah in Amritsar and Hussainiwala in Ferozepur. But not many are aware of the ceremony at Sadiqui in Fazilka. We want to promote it on the lines of Wagah. We are constructing a welcome gate, a conference hall and sheds there. We have also sanctioned a park and a rural ‘haat’ there. Besides, we also intend to showcase our rural tourism as the area also has organic farms,” said Isha Kalia, Deputy Commissioner, Fazilka.

In a recent statistics released by state government, an average of 15,000 tourists visits the Sadiqui border retreat ceremony and Asafwala War Memorial in Fazilka. “The recent data released by the state government is very encouraging for us. This can certainly be improved with co-ordination among all stakeholders. The BSF and Pakistan Rangers have already agreed to replicate Wagah border’s elaborate military drill in Fazilka to draw more tourists,” said Navdeep Asija, a representative of the civil society.