GILGIT, Pakistan -- For decades, the attractions of Pakistan's stunning terrain and scenic sites have been overshadowed by a bigger consideration for international tourists: fear of terrorism. Although attacks have been limited to a handful of tense areas that are mostly off-limits to tourists, security concerns have plagued the country's struggling travel industry.
Even so, tourism to Pakistan has not only survived but has recently thrived, with gradual improvement in security and efforts by dedicated travel agencies in the country. Their initiatives have begun to pay off. The British Backpacker Society in January ranked Pakistan the best adventure travel destination in the world, "with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone's wildest imagination."