I had to do a double take when I read this week that the Afghanistan Ministry of Tourism announced the official revival of the country's tourism industry:

The government of Afghanistan is going to revive the lucrative tourism industry in the war-torn country, Director of Tourism Department Syed Zamanudin Baha said on Tuesday…

Revive the tourism industry?Now?With U.S. troops battling the Taliban, and civil unrest all over the place?Though, I must admit my curiosity was piqued by their refurbishment plans:

“Rebuilding a couple giant Buddhas is also on the agenda of the government to attract more tourists in the country…” (Taliban militants dynamited the Bamiyan province statues in March 2001.)

The country recently christened its first national park—a gorgeous Grand Canyon-esque landscape located in the central province of Bamiyan that includes six spectacular deep blue lakes—an event, which, according to the Afghanistan embassy in D.C., sparked the country’s new tourism campaign.

The park is just one of many rebuilding efforts that the Afghani government believes will draw international travelers. For Afghanistan’s sake, hopefully someday soon tourism really will return to the beautiful war-torn country.

Jennifer Salerno is a freelance editorial assistant at American Express Publishing.