The valley, once deprived of basic services, is now emerging as Pakistan’s top tourist destination. Hundreds of local and foreign tourists flocked to Swat, known as Pakistan’s Switzerland, for winter sports festival 2020, despite heavy snowfall.
“I am excited to be back in Pakistan and participate in the festival. I love the facilities here,” said Mallak Faisal Zafar, a 12-year-old figure skater. She has travelled all the way from Dubai (UAE) to attend the festival as more tourists flocked to the snow-capped resort this year to enjoy snowfall. “I am here to make figure skating and winter sports bigger and popular in Pakistan especially among young girls” Mallak, who is recognised as the Pakistani figure skater, told Gulf News.
She was enthused to see the passion for winter games in the region where local girls tried skating for the first time. “Encouragement from the family and support from the government can transform these girls into brilliant athletes” Mallak’s mother, Nesrein Sadawi, told Gulf News.
The festival featured several winter games including skiing, speed skating, ice hockey, sledding and tobogganing. Music show, food stalls, and art and culture exhibit were also part of the event. The visitors transformed the white snowy field into a vibrant sports and entertainment arena.