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Pakistan: Prospects of Tourism

August 18, 2023

As our nation has world-class tourist attractions like the breathtaking Himalayan peaks, lovely lakes, picturesque valleys, rich culture, centuries-old civilisations, vast deserts, golden beaches of Makran, and all the other natural and man-made attractions, tourism can be a significant source of income for Pakistan.

But sadly, Pakistan’s tourist potential has largely gone unrealized, and the relevant authorities have not given it the serious consideration it needs to become a key driver of economic growth for the nation.

Ironically, the industry was neglected when the previous administration was in office. The country’s law and order situation has significantly harmed tourism, but what’s worse are the pointless limitations on the movement of foreign tourists to various tourist destinations. The majority of locations in Pakistan now require a NOC for foreign tourists to visit, and getting one in a timely manner is nearly difficult due to drawn-out and tiresome bureaucratic processes.

Even while the government is very concerned about the security of international visitors, there shouldn’t be any more obstacles in the way of them visiting tourist destinations for which they have already spent thousands of dollars on plane travel and other ground arrangements once they have been granted visas.In order for them to enjoy their vacations without any fear or stress, we must make accommodations for them and offer them intangible protection. On the other hand, we haven’t given our own domestic tourists the attention they deserve. There are many Pakistanis who would like to travel throughout their own country, but the outdated tourist infrastructure, high cost of food and housing, and subpar services at tourist destinations deter them from doing so.

Here, we need a strong tourism strategy and full support from the government. The incoming administration should give tourism top priority as a key component of Pakistan’s economy and support efforts to revive the sector. By providing income and employment possibilities for the unemployed residents in remote regions of KP province and GB where there are no other industries to support their livelihoods, we can easily defeat terrorism through tourism. By growing the tourism sector, other industries like hotels, restaurants, transportation, handicrafts, shopping, local recreation areas, and local entrepreneurs also benefit. Thousands of new employment for both skilled and unskilled labourers are also created.

In order to overcome these issues and take use of this untapped potential, the government should adopt a targeted investment strategy and implement a good tourism development policy.

To revitalise tourism in Pakistan, extensive policy changes would need to be made in order to entice back travellers who were scared away by terrorist activity.

President of the Sustainable Tourism Foundation of Pakistan, AFTABUR REHMAN RANA Islamabad

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