Intriguing piece by Ivan Watson of CNN
on Afghanistan's Bamiyan province struggles to build tourism
spotlighting the lovely environs, historically famous Buddha statues -- desecrated by Taliban Islamist swine -- as well as scrappy businesswomen like Hotel Silk Road proprietor Hiromi Yasui
"The Hotel Silk Road has been open for less than two years. The green concrete walls of this compound jar somewhat with the brown, mud brick architecture of Bamiyan Valley. But the hotel is probably the largest foreign private investment in Bamiyan's fledgling tourism industry since the overthrow of the Taliban eight years ago. Aid workers say tourism is one of the greatest economic hopes for reviving this isolated, yet visually -- and archaeologically -- stunning part of Afghanistan, a region that has seen little infrastructure development over the last eight years, even though Bamiyan is one of the safest parts of the country. "The natural resources and cultural resources here are probably the single best place for economic development to happen, around revitalizing the tourism industry here," says Bob Thelen, the representative for the Aga Khan Development Network in Bamiyan. The nonprofit organization has been working with the government of New Zealand to distribute $1.2 million over a three-year period to develop eco-tourism as an industry in Bamiyan."
They support young Afghani entrepreneur Jawad Wafa
"Though only 23 years old, this ambitious young Afghan plans to launch a tourism and logistics company, complete with a fleet of rental vehicles and guides. "The first thing we need to have more tourists in Bamiyan, we need security and peace. The second one is roads," Wafa says."
Fascinating and inspiring. Yes, I plan to visit.
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