The picturesque Dhesan meadows, nestled between the Kalam and Utror valleys in Pakistan, have long been a hidden gem. But recent discussions suggest that this serene landscape might soon be on every traveler’s bucket list.
In a recent jirga (council) held in Swat, local elders and officials from the Upper Swat Development Authority (USDA) convened to discuss the potential of transforming Dhesan meadows into a full-fledged tourist destination. According to a report published by Dawn, the meadows are described as an enchanting expanse surrounded by majestic mountains and an endless emerald carpet.
The USDA sees significant potential in the meadows. “Kalam has numerous tourist sites from meadows to waterfalls to cedar forests to lakes, so it cannot be explored in a few days. Majority of tourists stay in Kalam Bazaar and go to different locations,” USDA deputy director Sardar Zeb told local representatives.
Zeb further emphasized the importance of introducing the meadows to a broader audience. “Dhesan meadows are a jewel of our valley where a few tourists, mostly hikers and trekkers, can go. It is hidden from the mainstream tourists, so it should be open to all visitors,” he said in the same report.
But what does this mean for outdoor accommodation businesses?
With the proposed introduction of camping pods, roads, and other amenities, there’s a clear opportunity for campgrounds and RV park owners as well as industry suppliers to tap into this emerging tourist destination.
However, for some worldwide organizations, with opportunity comes responsibility. As noted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on their official page on sustainable development, the key to developing new tourist spots is ensuring a balance between the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism. This approach ensures that the natural beauty and integrity of places like Dhesan meadows are preserved for future generations.
Local communities also play a crucial role in such developments. Their economic well-being and cultural values must be at the forefront of any tourism strategy. The local elders, while acknowledging the potential benefits of the initiative, have rightly sought time for community consultation.
The development of Dhesan meadows as a tourist destination also presents a chance to distribute tourist traffic more evenly. Popular spots like Kalam Valley often face the brunt of excessive tourist footfall, leading to environmental and infrastructural strains.
By promoting lesser-known sites, authorities can ensure a more balanced distribution of visitors, reducing pressure on already popular areas and providing tourists with fresh, unique experiences.
While the development of Dhesan meadows is still in the discussion phase, its potential cannot be ignored. For outdoor accommodation businesses, this could be the next big thing. But as with all developments, a balanced, sustainable, and community-centric approach will be key to its success.