The Taliban are waiting for more tourists to arrive in Afghanistan The Taliban are waiting for more tourists to arrive in Afghanistan

The Taliban are waiting for more tourists to arrive in Afghanistan

The Taliban are waiting for more tourists to arrive in Afghanistan

The position of Afghanistan's rulers is not so strong at the global level. The economy is struggling, infrastructure is poor and poverty is rampant, but foreigners are still flocking to the country, numbering around 7,000 last year.

About 30 people sit in a classroom in Kabul, part of the first group of students at a Taliban -run tourism training institute.

A student is a model. The other is 17 years old and has never held a job.

They are all male, while Afghan women are barred from studying beyond the sixth grade. These people know nothing about tourism or hospitality, but  want to promote a different side of Afghanistan , and the Taliban are happy to help.

The position of Afghanistan's rulers in the world is not so strong, which is mainly due to their restrictions on women and girls.

The economy is struggling, infrastructure is poor and poverty is rampant. Foreigners are still coming to the country because there is less violence, better flights, especially from places like Dubai, and it's uniqueness, which makes it attractive to vacationers, but tourists. The number is not very high.

691 foreign tourists came in 2021. In 2022, this number will increase to 2300. Last year this number was seven thousand.

Mohammad Saeed, head of the Directorate of Tourism in Kabul, said that the biggest market for foreign tourists is China because it is close and has a large population.

Saeed said that the Japanese told me that they do not want to go to Pakistan because it is dangerous and they are attacked there. It's good for us.'

But there are some disadvantages. Access to visas is difficult and expensive.

After the Taliban came to power, many countries cut ties with Afghanistan and none of the countries recognize them as the legitimate rulers of the country.

Afghan embassies have either been closed or suspended, while a power struggle continues between some embassies and consulates that operate under the full control of the former Western-backed administration and the Taliban administration.

Saeed admits there are obstacles to the development of Afghan tourism, but says he is working with ministries to overcome them.

The ultimate goal is a tourist visa on arrival, but this can take years. There are problems with the road network, which is half-finished or non-existent in some parts of the country, and airlines largely avoid Afghan airspace.

The capital, Kabul, receives the most international flights, but no Afghan airport has direct routes to major tourist markets such as China, Europe or India.

Despite the problems, Saeed wants Afghanistan to become a tourism powerhouse. It's a commitment that apparently has the support of top Taliban leaders.

He said: 'I have been sent to this department on the instructions of the elders (ministers). They must trust me because they have sent me to this important place.'

Students also want it. Model Ahmad Masoud Talish wants to learn about the beautiful places of Afghanistan and its history to be in the media for Instagram posts.

Business school graduate Sameer Ahmadzai wants to open a hotel but thinks he should learn more about tourism and hospitality first.

Ahmadzai said that 'people have heard about Afghanistan's backwardness, poverty and war. We have a history of five thousand years. Afghanistan should have a new page.'

Classes include basics of Afghan handicrafts and humanities.

An unofficial topic is how to interact with foreign women and how their behavior or habits may conflict with local customs and orders.

Examples of this could be women smoking or eating in public or freely associating with men who are not related to them by blood or marriage.

The Taliban has enforced a dress code for women and requires them to be accompanied by a male guardian or mahram during their travels. It has become difficult to eat alone, travel alone and socialize with other women in public places. With gyms closed and beauty salons banned for women, there are fewer places they can meet outside the home.

In a sign of the country's preparations for more foreign tourists, the country's only five-star Hotel Serena has reopened its spa and salon for foreign women after a month-long closure.

Foreigners must show their passport to access the Services. Women whose identity cards have 'born in Afghanistan' are banned.

The ban on Afghan women and girls has had an impact on foreign travel companies, which say they focus on the positive side of cultural connections by making donations, supporting local projects or simply visiting family-run businesses. Trying to do.

Shane Horan, founder of Rocky Road Travel, said a visit to Afghanistan should not be seen as an endorsement of a particular government or political regime.

'Ultimately, the aim should be to support responsible tourism practices that contribute positively to the local economy and promote mutual respect and understanding, while also being aware of the wider political context in Afghanistan.'

He said there was no information from the authorities about what the tour groups saw or did, and that the company works closely with a women's rights organization in Afghanistan.

Horan added that a percentage of the cost of the tour goes to support the organization's programs.

There are no women in the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. The students did not mention it, but an officer from the Directorate of Tourism did.

"It is a heartbreaking situation," said the officer on condition of anonymity. Even the women of the family ask if they can study here, but with the change of government came a change in policy. The women who were studying before (the occupation) never came back. They never graduated.'

6 Comments

  1. About 30 people sit in a classroom in Kabul, part of the first group

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