For the next few years, being known for harboring an architect of evil wasn't doing Abbottabad's ailing tourist industry any favors. The town was once one of the premier holiday destinations in the region, which is known for its pleasant climate and beauty, but it had been in steady decline for years. The last TripAdvisor review only read: Loved my stay at first, great outdoor climbing, but when I ordered room service, six armed men barged in and repeatedly shot me in the head. Two stars.
But that is all about to change. In order to wipe the slate clean, the provincial government has decided to give Abbottabad a makeover. With the help of some generous sponsors / land developer sharks, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is building an amusement park and resort. And not just any amusement park and resort. Planned to be built over the next five years, the $30 million project will feature restaurants, ski ramps, a boating lake, a zoo, several water sports, rock climbing, and a mini golf course, all of which will offer guests a stay they'll never forget. It'll truly be the 9/11 of holidays.
Pakistan's tourism board is quick to assert that this isn't some ploy to make people think of Abbottabad as a tourist paradise instead of the place where bin Laden spent so much time that his favorite coffee was "the usual." "This project has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden," said the provincial minister for tourism and sport, who presumably then gave a knowing wink, put a 50 in the reporter's pocket, and added, "If you catch my drift, fella." Regardless of what their intentions are or aren't, this ridiculously expensive project will surely boost the local economy, enrich several contractors, and restore the region's reputation. Thanks, Osama.