Death of tourists also a blow to Pakistan's economy

Pakistani civil society activists light candles to protest the killing of foreign tourists during a rally in Islamabad on June 24, 2014. Pakistan suspended expeditions on its second-highest peak and evacuated climbers after Islamist gunmen shot dead 10 foreign trekkers, braced for the collapse of its tiny tourist industry.

Pakistan has been trying to attract foreigners, especially ambitious climbers hoping to scale some of the countries more difficult mountains. The attack and murder of ten foreign tourists in the country over the weekend now threatens what is still “a pretty feeble economy right now after more than a decade of conflict,” says Elizabeth Becker, author of “Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism.”

“The tourism economy in Pakistan was on the way up,” says Becker, but adds that this attack can only hurt it.

Becker notes that Pakistan has reacted quickly. She says the country is learning something Somalia learned a few years earlier -- tourists can become easy targets in areas still rife with conflict.

“When tourism becomes a $6.4 trillion industry, tourists have a different role in the world than they used to have,” she says.

But the attacks wouldn’t deter her from going to the Himalayas in the near future.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk covering sustainability news spots and features.

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