05/15/2010

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Bamiyan, an island of security At a time when the insurgency has again spread across the country, but not as much violence as some years ago, Bamiyan, famous for the site where the Taliban blew up Buddhist statues, has now become an island of security, and a very popular tourist destination. It is estimated that the city and its valleys were visited this past year by 1,500 Afghans and 756 foreigners, and it is estimated that the three hotels in the area had a revenue of $250,000. The program to increase tourism, is so far only focused on the summer, but could help the ski market seasonally. By 2015 it is expected that the 116 hotel beds today, will reach past 1000, creating at least 1000 jobs and the visit of 10,000 foreign tourists and 100,000 Afghans, which would generate about 6 million euros in the valley, not counting revenue drivers, craft shops, and restaurants. But they would also need to improve transportation connections. Right now going from Kabul to Bamiyan, just 200 kilometers, takes more than eight hours. You can go faster and do it in four hours, but you must pass through Taliban territory. One option is to create a commercial flight path, but it is hard to land at the airport Bamiyan with cattle sporadically roaming around on the track. In any case, even if they can keep Bamiyan like a bubble within a hostile territory, the highest hopes are for peace in the entire country. As much as they want to preserve security in Bamyan in a bubble, if Afghanistan falls, this region will, too.