Murree is considered the most important tourist destination in Pakistan. It is one of the developed and popular hill stations that offers the most scenic views for its visitors and pleasant weather even in hot summers. It is the most accessible destination for visitors throughout the year. The highest mountain ranges, i.e., Himalayan Mountain, lie in Pakistan. Due to its spectacular beauty and fascinating greenery, a large number of international and domestic tourists visit Murree. The main attraction for tourists is scenic trails and Mall Road. In recent years Bhurban and New Murree (Patriata) have also been developed as tourist centres.
Despite so much importance, the hill station lacks tourist rescue programs to ensure the safety of visitors. In the absence of such safety programs, several minor accidents have turned into severe destruction that caused casualties and damage to the city’s infrastructure. Due to the lack of a safety program, Murree has faced a blizzard tragedy this year. As a result, roads were jammed with traffic from some 100,000 visitors, and their cars were stuck overnight (Dawn, 2022). In addition, around 22 people died, including 10 children.
Regarding a safety tourism program in Murree, the government has made efforts to ensure the safety of tourists for the upcoming winter season. In this regard, an extensive tourist program has been approved to provide complete safety for the visiting families in Murree and the adjacent Galiyat region before the start of the winter tourism season in the next month. Under the program, arrangements have been made for security, vehicle checking, and 24-hour work of snow clearing in the district and standard Tourism Services Rules will also be regulated.
Several bylaws are also being implemented in Murree to promote tourism. Under this program, a limited number of traffic police vehicles will enter Murree during the snowy season, while no vehicle will be allowed to enter the district beyond 17 miles of the Toll Plaza. Also, the civil defence force will have walkie-talkies and batons. Another 50 traffic wardens will be sent to Murree to control the traffic and remain deployed throughout the season.
Under this program, to control reckless rent-seeking behaviour, several other initiatives will be taken like imposing a fixed rental rate for rooms in hotels with heaters and without heaters which will be monitored throughout the season under the supervision of Murree’s additional deputy commissioner. Weather, snowfall, and route reports will be issued to inform the public during the snow season. Furthermore, chemicals have been procured in large quantities to clear snow from streets, while five snow removal vehicles will work 24 hours during the snowfall. Additional vehicles and employees will also be deployed for snow removal during the snowfall.