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Pakistan Named Best Performing Tourism Destination in 2023

January 4, 2024

ISLAMABAD: According to the “World Tourism Barometer” released by the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations, Pakistan was the “best-performing destination” in terms of tourism during the first nine months of 2023.

In 2023, Pakistan recovered a stunning 92% of its pre-pandemic levels, with a 115% increase in international visitor visits over the previous year, indicating a strong post-Covid rebound.

Pakistan Tourist Development Corporation Managing Director Aftab Rana stated that the country is a shining example of a tourist revival, with recovery rates of 115 percent and estimates of $1.3 billion in foreign receipts by year’s end.

He complimented the coordinated efforts in tourism promotion for this achievement. Pakistan showcased its tourist potential by actively participating in six major international events.

The establishment of the “Salam Pakistan” tourism brand in August 2023 and a deliberate online outreach program both made a substantial contribution to drawing in a wide variety of tourists from around the world.

Despite current obstacles, Minister of State for Tourism Wasi Shah complimented the PTDC team and industry partners on their accomplishments and expressed hope for a better showing in 2024. Speaking highly of the joint efforts of the PTDC, local tourism offices, and private sector businesses, Mr. Rana emphasized the importance of international collaborations growing as a result of world events.

Other top-performing travel destinations among nations from Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East were Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Turkiye, and Romania, according to the WTO Tourism Barometer. Serbia and Egypt were ranked last among the destination nations.

According to the barometer’s main findings, from January to September 2023, foreign tourism returned to levels seen prior to the epidemic by 87%.

Between January and September of 2023, there were an estimated 975 million foreign traveler visits, up 38% from the same period in 2022 but down 13% from 2019.

Revenue from international travel may total $1.4 trillion in 2023 or almost 93% of the $1.5 trillion that travel destinations made in 2019.

These outcomes demonstrate the robust demand rebound in 2023. In terms of relative recovery, the Middle East remained at the forefront, with arrivals in the first nine months of 2023 20 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels. The largest destination region in the globe, Europe, saw a 94 percent recovery from pre-pandemic levels because to strong intra-regional demand.

During this nine-month period, Africa recovered 92% of pre-crisis tourists, while the Americas recovered 88%. Arrivals in Asia and the Pacific increased to 62% of levels before the outbreak.

Sub-regionally, from January to September 2023, North Africa (+5 percent), Central America (+4 percent), and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+1 percent) all remained higher than pre-pandemic levels.

According to UNWTO scenarios released in January, total international arrivals are predicted to exceed 1.3 billion in 2023, up 33% over 2022 and over 90% of pre-pandemic levels.

Against this context, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) reports that despite economic constraints and uncertainty stemming from some geopolitical tensions and wars, international tourism is well on track to fully restore pre-pandemic levels in 2024.

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