Help GB Pakistan safely manage COVID tourism risks

Hi, we’re the Root Network and we think restarting tourism shouldn’t be at the expense of locals’ safety.

The pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone, but it’s particularly difficult for people in the mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

Tourism is a major source of income in the remote region where other work opportunities are scarce. More than 1 million tourists visit Gilgit-Baltistan every year, but due to travel closures in 2020, business is so slow many people will not be able to afford food by December.

After months of lockdown, the government will soon open northern Pakistan for travel… yet despite the hardships, many locals are wary of the decision.

People in Gilgit-Baltistan understand that, though profitable, crowds of irresponsible tourists are a major safety risk. Despite being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan has extremely limited healthcare infrastructure. According to the WHO, Punjab province has 28,000+ healthcare facilities; Gilgit-Baltistan has less than 100.

If tourism is to start up again, we need to make sure it’s not at the expense of locals’ safety.

Are you in Pakistan? You can send donations to:

Account title:
 Aneeqa Ali
Account number: 0148150000008342
IBAN: PK59FAYS0148150000008342
Currency: PKR 
Bank: Faysal Bank Limited
Swift Code: FAYSPKKA
Branch: 69-B, Main Boulevard, Gulberg-II, Lahore (0148)

Help local businesses in Gilgit Baltistan prepare for safe tourism

Our goal is to make COVID-era travel to Gilgit-Baltistan as safe and sustainable as possible for locals and tourists. We’re focusing on Hunza and Gilgit, and engaging community members by:

1. Training local tourism professionals on COVID safety
We’ll run in-person training sessions with local hotels, guides, and porters on tourism-specific COVID-19 safety procedures.  All participants will be paid for their time for more immediate economic relief from COVID impacts.

2. Distributing specialized COVID safety kits
Every participant will receive a COVID kit with important safety materials—things like thermometers, masks, cleaning solutions, sanitizers, the works—tailored for their professional needs. We designed kits that use materials locals can easily restock, minimize waste, and support local communities. One example: reusable fabric masks will be purchased from female artisans in Gilgit-Baltistan.

3. Training local ambassadors
Our goal is long-term sustainability, so we’re training and equipping local ambassadors to continue running COVID safety training sessions in their own communities.

4. Educating tourists
We’ll work with Pakistani influencers and creatives to make travel safety content that people will actually pay attention to and share on social media. Creatives should never work for free; meeting our fundraising goal will enable us to pay people for their original content.

Want to know more? See our website for more project details.

Time to give back to Gilgit-Baltistan

If you’ve ever savored a breath of fresh mountain air at sunset, sipped a warm cup of chai at the foot of snowy peaks, or enjoyed the hospitality of Gilgit-Baltistan, this is your chance to give back.

Even if you haven’t, you know how difficult this pandemic has been for people all over the world. How important it is to support each other during these times.

A donation today is an investment in the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Your generosity will enable locals in tourism to stay safe, sustain themselves and their businesses, and make it possible for future travelers to safely enjoy Pakistan’s mountains.

Who are we?

We’re the Root Network: a small group of female travelers with diverse backgrounds brought together by a shared belief in the importance of responsible travel and the touristic potential of Pakistan.

Aneeqa has years of experience running her own travel company, The Mad Hatters .

Sara is a Fulbright scholar specializing in gender and economic empowerment projects.

Alex encourages responsible travel through her travel blog, Lost With Purpose .

Turfah is an NGO sector executive with a passion for educational projects.

Learn more about our team and what we’re up to on the Root Network website.

Fundraising team: Root Network (4)

Alex Reynolds
Aneeqa Ali
Team member
Sara Kazi
Team member
Turfah Tabish
Team member

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