American Tourist Ranks Pakistan Among Top 10 Favorites After Visiting 196 Countries

Cassie De Pecol, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for traveling to all 196 countries of the world in shortest time, has put Pakistan at number 5 among the top 10 "must visit" countries.

Other countries on De Pecol's top 10 list are: Mongolia, Bhutan, Maldives, Vanuatu, Oman, Tunisia, Peru, Costa Rica and USA.

Lahore Fort Source: Telegraph

De Pecol said people must visit Pakistan “to get a true sense of raw, authentic Asian culture, and for the food.”  Earlier, in an Instagram message at the start of her Pakistan visit she wrote: “My time here in Pakistan has just begun and has been one of the many wonderfully educational and culturally enriching experiences…. Don’t judge by its color or a country by the media", according to media reports.

De Pecol, a Connecticut native, left the United States on July 14, 2015, and just completed her 196-country tour Feb 2, 2017 — beating the current Guinness record of three years and three months, according to

De Pecol needed money to finance her expedition. She found her first nonprofit endorsement through the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, and after that, she decided to reach out to big and small companies and independent investors to contribute to her mission. “A lot of people think it’s so easy to find a sponsor to travel,” she today Today. “One of the most difficult aspects of this expedition was trying to find funding through sponsorship.”

Here's a Pakistan Pictorial:

Find more photos like this on PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network


Riaz Haq said…
#CPEC is world's most significant geopolitical & geo-economic project. #Aman17 #China #Pakistan … via @FinancialReview

The Pakistan port of Karachi has just played host to a multi-national naval exercise, involving military ships from 36 countries including from the Royal Australian Navy. The exercises was focused on defending sea trade routes; the all-important Indian Ocean lies to the south of the Arabian Sea.

AMAN-17 (aman means 'peace' in Urdu) was a chance for the nuclear-armed and fast-growing Pakistan Navy to show off its latest acquisitions, which include two new Chinese built warships.

The objective in bringing together vessels from the UK, US, Indonesia and China, among others, was to build a coalition on maritime issues and develop tactics against non-traditional threats such as smuggling.

India was conspicuous by its absence — not surprisingly given 70 years of war tension on both sides over Kashmir, nuclearisation and state-sponsored terrorism.

Apart from the normalised security threat, it was the opportunity for discussion of the massive economic and geopolitical challenges which informed much of the talk, especially with a view to China.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an audacious project funded by more than US$56 billion in loans from Beijing to give China trade access to a new mega-port called Gwadar in Pakistan.

The project involves railways, roads and power stations leading from the south of Pakistan through some of the most rugged and unstable parts of the country to the border with China in the north. It is, in the words of Pakistan's defence minister, Khawja Muhammad Asif, a 'game-changer'.

The land link, and the transformation of Gwadar into a large and secure hub, would shave two weeks off the travel time of shipping from China's east coast to the Middle East and beyond.


A maritime conference being held in tandem with the AMAN 17 exercises pointed to the CPEC project as a key to the overdue economic development not just of Pakistan but also the western Indian Ocean region.


Dennis Rumley, professor of Indian Ocean Studies at Curtin University in Perth, says if the sums add up CPEC could be one of the world's most significant geopolitical and geo-economic projects.

"Of course the Chinese want access to the Indian Ocean and why not? The problem with that access is it's going to take billions of dollars, it's going to the construction of railway that'll take at least five years in the best-case scenario and it's going to run through a region which is highly insecure," he said.

"You have to solve all those problems first and of course the money is not a grant it's a loan and there's a real possibility that given the economic situation in Pakistan they may be unable to repay the loan. So the long-term issues are rather fragile."

But Sydney-based funds manager Jack Lowenstein of Morphic Asset Management, who is a keen investor and visitor to Pakistan, has a more bullish take on the project.

He predicts the country's economic growth will pick up from 3-4 per cent to 5 per cent within a few years and CPEC will bring much-needed investment particularly to correct the nation's chronic power shortage.

"We believe the Chinese have far too much 'face' at stake to pull out and we see no evidence of the Pakistanis doing anything other than rolling out a very large red carpet," he said.

Almost 40 per cent of the world's trade passes through the Indian Ocean including most of Australia's fuel and food and the RAN has been active in the region and the Gulf since 1990.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's private airline #ShaheenAir adds another Airbus A319, increasing its fleet size to 25 aircrafts

Shaheen Air International (SAI) announced on Wednesday that the airline has inducted another Airbus A319 into its fleet.

The airline is also slated to receive five more aircraft of the similar model. Earlier, there was only one A319 Airbus in the fleet of the airline.

"With 24 planes under its auspices, Shaheen Air is brimming with excitement upon receiving their 25th aircraft," said a statement.

The new aircraft comes wrapped in a new livery that builds on the revamped brand identity and philosophy of Shaheen, said the release.

The Airbus A319 has been custom-fitted with thin and linear seats and it can accommodate around 150 passengers in its all-economy segment.

Last month, the company had re-branded itself by launching a new logo.
Riaz Haq said…
10-country #ecosummit in "isolated" #Pakistan ends on call for closer ties - ABC News. #Islamabad - via @ABC

A regional economic summit in Pakistan on Wednesday concluded with participants pledging to collectively fight the "challenge of terrorism" and push for greater collaboration in areas of trade, energy and infrastructure development.

Islamabad hosted the day-long 10-nation Economic Cooperation Organization summit that finalized a "Vision 2025" plan for expanding trade and prosperity among member nations.

"There has never been a more opportune time to realize our dreams of connectivity for regional prosperity," said Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was elected new chairman of the organization. "We can and should achieve even more by pooling together our individual efforts for greater synergy."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among the heads of states who attended the summit.

Turkey, Iran and Pakistan founded ECO in 1985. Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, who represented Kabul, said that peace and stability in the region will play a greater role in achieving mutual economic goals.

"We can meet the challenges of poverty by implementing a joint strategy," Zakhiwal said.

Sharif, in televised remarks at the end of the summit, expressed the member nations' resolve to fight terrorism and extremism collectively.

"We are determined to collectively face challenges such as extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking in order to realize our vision of making the region a zone of peace and prosperity," he said. "We have committed ourselves to working together for bringing progressive change to the lives of the people in our region, transforming it into a bastion of peace, progress and prosperity."

The participants also adopted an "Islamabad Declaration" on improving trade. Earlier, heads of member states "underscored the need for expansion of cooperation in various fields under the framework of ECO," according to a foreign ministry statement.

The statement said the participants reached an understanding to "transform the ECO region into a zone of peace and collective prosperity."

The conference took place under tight security after a wave of recent suicide bombings by various militant groups killed more than 125 people across Pakistan. Pakistan's decades-long war with local Taliban, al-Qaida-linked militants and other Islamic extremists has killed tens of thousands of people.

All roads leading to the venue in Islamabad were blocked and all offices, schools and most businesses in the capital were closed on Wednesday.

Islamabad also used the summit as a chance to show its potential as one of Asia's emerging markets. "Our economic indicators are up," Sharif told the meeting.

Government officials have also described the summit as an opportunity to show that Pakistan cannot be isolated from the international scene. Last year, a key regional cooperation conference was cancelled after neighboring India and Afghanistan refused to attend; both nations blame Pakistani-based militants for carrying out attacks in their countries, and tensions with India have been high over cross-border violence in the disputed Kashmir region.

The heads of member states left Islamabad after the summit.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan has emerged as 20th most powerful country in the world in a new global ranking of “Best Countries” and the nation was also ranked 74th in overall top countries category.

The ranking from US News & World Report, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and global brand consultants BAV Consulting, also saw United States falling from 4th position to 7th this year in overall best countries category. Switzerland has been ranked the No.1 country in the world.

Pakistan’s arch rival India is ranked 16th most powerful country while in overall best countries category, the South Asian country grabbed 25th position. In terms of being an influential country in the world, Pakistan is ranked at 40th while in education category, the country is last among 80 evaluated countries.

The 2017 Best Countries rankings are based on a survey, conducted after the US presidential election, that asks 21,000 business leaders, informed elites and general citizens what their views are of certain aspects of different countries. The rankings are designed in a similar way to other US News's rankings of colleges, hospitals and cars.

In the category of most powerful nations, United States has been ranked No1 followed by Russia, China, the United Kingdom and Germany. Pakistan was ranked 61 among movers and upcoming economies, 59th in entrepreneurship category, 63rd in study abroad, 66th in Starting a business, 67th in heritage, 68th in open for business, 69th in green living, 70th in cultural influence 70th in women, 75th in headquarter a corporation, 76th in citizenship, 76th in transparency, 77th in quality of life, 78th in adventure, 78th in forward looking, 79th in raising children and 79th in travel alone category.

Nearly 90 percent of global survey respondents outside the US said that they paid attention to the US election. Hillary Clinton would have won the global election, with nearly 60 percent of the global vote. Support for Donald Trump was 83 percent in Russia.

According to the rankings, perceptions of the United States in a number of areas have dropped over the past year. The United States dropped in rankings for business, citizenship, adventure tourism, education, transparency and headquartering a corporation. Nearly 75 percent of survey respondents said they had lost some respect for US leadership after the 2016 presidential election.

The rankings evaluate 80 top countries across a range of criteria, from power and economic influence to citizenship and quality of life, to capture how nations are perceived on a global scale.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s #economy has potential to grow by 7%, says Standard Chartered group CEO …
Standard Chartered Group Chief Executive Bill Winters said on Thursday that Pakistan has become an ideal choice for foreign investors because of developments in the last three years.

In a meeting with journalists, Winters said that the country has seen notable development in the energy sector and that the security situation has also significantly improved.

He also that foreign investors’ interest in the country will increase on the successful holding of elections in Pakistan. While most international finance institutions expect Pakistan’s economy to grow by 5% going forward, Winters think it has the potential to grow by 7%.

Standard Chartered CEO Shazad Dada also expressed optimism about the country’s economic environment, saying that democracy gaining ground in the country is a positive sign. He said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has brought hope to the country. Dada said that a uniform economic agenda is important to attract further foreign investment.

Riaz Haq said…
#Irish tourist raped, strangled and murdered in #India, police allege. #rape #mysogyny #gender

An Irish woman whose body was found in India's western beach resort state of Goa had been raped and strangled, local police allege.

The body of Danielle McLaughlin, 28, was found near the beach resorts of Canacona on Tuesday.

“The medical reports confirm she was raped before the murder," senior police officer Sammy Tavares said.

"The autopsy found the cause of death was compression of neck and cerebral damage after she was hit on the head by a beer bottle".

The suspect, identified as Vikas Bhagat, a local with a criminal background, has been arrested, and will face rape as well as murder charges, Mr Tavares said.

Riaz Haq said…
‘Emerging #Pakistan’ branding on #London buses LONDON: London’s iconic red double-decker buses are carrying brand Pakistan on the roads of Central London, the hub of world tourists. This ultimate branding campaign is running under the theme of “Emerging Pakistan” and will continue for four weeks.

Tens of thousands of people will get to see the London buses daily. During four weeks, millions will see these buses depicting the diversity and beauty of Pakistan.

The initiative is a part of celebrations planned by the Pakistan High Commission London for the 70th Independence Anniversary of Pakistan this year.

Fully wrapped double-decker buses are showcasing the pristine beauty of Pakistan with its highest peaks, beautiful landscape, rare fauna, monuments representing ancient civilisation, magnificent architecture and rich and diverse culture.

The moving buses are creating an unparalleled lasting visual impact on millions of pedestrians and motorists alike, especially the tourists. Millions of tourists visit London every year, mainly during summer. The buses decorated in Pakistani colours will pass through the tourist routes covering thousands of miles in total.

The bus wrapping campaign aims to introduce foreign tourists to the beautiful land of Pakistan that still remains unexplored.

Speaking to Geo News, Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK said: "Pakistan branding on the iconic London buses is projecting the true image of Pakistan in London which is the hub of the foreign tourists. This publicity campaign showcases the beauty of Pakistan, its culture, landscape and people, and will help promote tourism in Pakistan in the most effective way. The recent social uplift and economic prosperity in Pakistan underpins the theme of the campaign i.e. ‘Emerging Pakistan’ as acknowledged by many independent international organisations.”

He said foreigners are always mesmerised when they see the beauty of Pakistan’s culture and the richness of colours is appreciated all over the world.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan identified as top travel destination

The British Backpacker Society has identified Pakistan as it’s top travel desitination due to it being “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination”.

“Pakistan is the clear winner of the British Backpacker Society’s top 20 adventure travel destinations 2018 and we encourage keen travellers to book a trip now” the backpackers, who have explored over 101 countries, shared on social media. Other top destinations included Russia, India, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and China.

Gulf News has carried the comments of two members of the BBS on Pakistan. Samuel Joynson and Adam Sloper said that Pakistan had a lot to offer travellers.

“Pakistan is one of the friendliest countries on earth. So, prepare to be invited into people’s homes, take more selfies than you can count, and have every preconception that you ever held about this area of the world changed forever,” Samuel said.

The pair visited Pakistan in 2016, and traveled from Lahore to Gilgit-Baltistan via the Kaghan valley. They ended their trip in the Hunza Valley and climbed the Hon Pass near Karimabad.

“We chose to climb the Hon Pass as Eric Shipton, one of Britain’s most famous mountaineers, described the view from the pass as ‘the ultimate manifestation of mountain grandeur’, and we wanted to follow in his footsteps and experience this spectacle,” Samuel recalled. “The view from the Hon Pass was indeed the greatest natural sight that either of us has ever seen, and we would recommend it to anyone with a keen interest in mountaineering.”

Samuel also shared a travel tip: “Head north to the astonishing peaks of the Karakoram along the unforgettable Karakoram Highway. It is beautiful, exciting and culturally interesting, and travellers are rewarded at the journey’s end-point with perhaps the most beautiful natural sight on earth, the Hunza Valley.”

British Backpacker Society is known for inspiring thousands of it’s online followers to visit less famous destinations in developing countries. Adam had a word of advice for international travelers concerned about their safety when visiting Pakistan:

“Our advice would be to put preconceptions on the security situation in Pakistan to one side, and conduct some independent research. You should certainly review travel advisories from respective governments, but also speak to local Pakistanis about the situation. We believe that travel is at its best when it changes a visitor’s preconceptions, and few experiences achieve this more than travelling in Pakistan” he implored.

Riaz Haq said…
The 10 Coolest Places to Go in 2019 by Ann Abel Contributor Travel Forbes
I know the difference between expensive travel and the truly luxurious

The Azores (Portugal), Eastern Bhutan, Cabo/Los Cabos (Mexico), Colombia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mongolia, Pakistan, Rwanda, The Turkish Riviera.

The world keeps getting bigger. Every traveler I know says their wish list grows longer, not shorter, every time they dip into a new region or even hear about one.

So how to decide? What’s newly (or still) safe or newly uncovered? What’s hovering between charming sleepiness and overdeveloped soullessness? What must we see before it changes forever? What will transform us?

I put those questions to experts at several high-end travel companies. These super-agents knows what they’re talking about, keeping their ears on their clients’ interests and their eyes on the adventures they themselves have in every corner of the world. Here (in alphabetical order) is what on their radar for next year.


“Explore the valleys of Hunza, Shigar and Khaplu via the renowned Karakoram Highway,” suggests Sara Barbieri, another specialist with GeoEx. “This little-visited region in the far northeast of the country offers the kind of startlingly striking scenery that compels you to gaze from the window of your 4WD without blinking, for fear of missing a moment of the majesty of the landscape—or one of the astounding suspension bridges that cross the surging rivers filled with snow melt. Add to this the warm welcome of the people, the glacial blue of Attabad lake, the centuries of history, the juxtaposition of granite to greenery, the chance to walk through an age old-apricot orchard along water channels cut by hand, and the blazing snow-covered glory of Rakiposhi, and you must acknowledge there is a grand adventure to be had.”

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's Kund Malir in #Balochistan featured among top 50 #Asian #beaches. This beautiful and untouched shoreline rests between the #desert, #mountain and #sea, making for some breathtaking views at the bottom edge of Hingol National Park. #Tourism

KARACHI: With its scenic view, Pakistan 's Kund Malir beach is one of the most exotic beaches and definitely one of the top tourist attractions in the country.

Kund Malir beach now among Asia’s Top 50 Beaches. This extremely beautiful and untouched shoreline rests between the desert, mountain and sea, making for some breathtaking views at the bottom edge of Hingol National Park.

This golden beach, with its unparalleled serenity and so much more, is a must-see destination Pakistan. Venture off the coastal highway to relax on the smooth sands by the Arabian Sea.

This exceptional, natural marvel of the world is where the water meets a desert. It is an attractive desert beach with palm trees on the coastline. As this place has gained popularity recently by featuring into the top 50 beaches of Asia, Kund Malir is a clean beach with crystal clear, shimmering water.

The FlightNetwork’s most in-depth list of Asian beaches provides a complete look into the stunning shores of Asia – a continent with countless countries rimmed by aquatic wonders so extraordinary travelers must see to believe.

The Asia’s Top 50 Beaches list was prepared by collecting the insider knowledge of over 600 journalists, editors, bloggers, and agencies, who have made travel their life. The resulting expert guidance ensured the list of Asian beaches offers those that have a taste for adventure, balanced by ultimate relaxation, all the needed insight to plan an unforgettable beach-side journey.
Riaz Haq said…
This Popular Solo Travel Vlogger Says #Pakistan Could Be World’s #1 #Tourism Destination. She says it after visiting 44 countries. She has more than 381,000 followers on Instagram, 421,000 followers on Facebook, and 324,000 on her YouTube channel @forbes

Pakistan. It’s not exactly on every solo female traveler’s bucket list. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be. Especially if you ask vlogger and content creator Eva zu Beck, who thinks Pakistan could be the world’s #1 tourism destination.

And she doesn’t say this lightly. Having visited 44 countries and with more than 381,000 followers on Instagram, 421,000 followers on Facebook, and 324,000 YouTube channel subscribers as a result of the incredible travel content she creates – from videos exploring forgotten islands in Yemen to exploring Aleppo, Syria alone – she knows a thing or two about the world’s most under-the-radar destinations.

But it wasn’t just her fearlessness that caught my eye, it was her content on Pakistan that really pulled me in. Because she didn’t just visit for a week or two, she lived there for an extended period of time (10 months to be exact), taking her time to really dig into what Pakistani culture, and it’s people, are truly like, creating videos and telling stories on her experiences there that are unlike anything else I’ve seen out there.

She headed straight into “Taliban Territory” to live with a local family. She trekked to the base camp of the world’s second tallest mountain. She traveled to the world’s highest paved international border crossing. She met with female carpenters to hear their stories. She took on Karachi alone. And she’s appeared on Pakistani TV.

And while she developed her content independently of the government and tourism board, they took notice. Even inviting her to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan at a tourism conference, presenting to him her impressions of Pakistan as a travel destination from a foreign visitor's perspective (and where she originally shared her thoughts on Pakistan having the potential to be the #1 tourism destination in the world).

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