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Share of Foreign Tourists Increasing in Pakistan Despite Turmoil

December 11, 2023

GoZayaan Pakistan Managing Director Muhammad Komail Abbas has stated that despite protracted economic and political unrest, tourism is gradually growing in Pakistan and foreign visitors are coming to the country in large numbers. Prior to the pandemic, the share of foreign tourists was 5-6%; however, after it occurred, it shot to 12–15%.

A year ago, GoZayaan, a travel firm based in Bangladesh, paid $3.5 million to purchase FindMyAdventure, a company located in Pakistan. Muhammad Komail Abbas, the MD of GoZayaan Pakistan, launched FindMyAdventure.

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GoZayaan helped nearly 80,000 visitors in its first year in Pakistan, comprising 12,000 foreign and 68,000 local travelers. The company claims to have made $20 million in revenue contributions to the local hotel industry in addition to its $4 million in income.

Issues the domestic tourism sector faces

The sector deals with a lot of difficulties brought on by political, economic, and security concerns that affect the amount of tourists that come to the nation each year.

Pakistan is having difficulty drawing in foreign tourists as a result of poor media coverage brought about by terrorist attacks, bloodshed, and political unrest.

According to TAAP, the travel and tourism sector in Pakistan is in dire straits.

Tourists are further discouraged from visiting the nation by the bad transit system, weak infrastructure, and dearth of trustworthy lodging, among other factors.

A rise in tourism

According to those connected to the sector, despite all of these difficulties, the industry has experienced a spike in tourism after the conclusion of the COVID-19 procedures.

“The number of tourists visiting Pakistan is increasing every year as a result of the depreciation of the rupee, which makes Pakistan a more affordable option for foreign travelers,” Abbas told Business Recorder.

According to the data at hand, 12–15% of tourists are foreign visitors, and the remaining 85% are local visitors. After COVID, there has been a rise in foreign travel, which was previously between five and six percent.

The weakening of the rupee led to a rise in domestic tourism as travel abroad became more costly. Travelers prefer to pay in rupees because of the present state of the economy.

Meanwhile, Fahd Vohra, CEO of Rocket Tourism, claimed that the main driver of the rise in foreign travel in 2019 was changes made to travel laws, such as making it easier to obtain a visa.

“We were unable to observe the effects of the policy because COVID-19 emerged shortly after it was implemented, but as soon as the pandemic protocols were removed, there was a large influx of tourists, both domestic and foreign,” Vohra told Business Recorder.

Growth in tourism may slow due to excessive inflation.

Vohra said that although there has been an increasing trend in tourism thus far, he was now unsure if people will continue to go in the wake of the significant fuel price hike and the record inflation.

In the meantime, Abbas added that this will be the first tourist season during which they can accurately track the effects of inflation on the industry.

While many tourists’ trip choices were impacted by fuel prices last year, other costs were largely unaffected. This year, higher costs for practically every good and service, including food and drink, are predicted to be the result of inflation’s overall effects on the domestic industry.

According to Abbas, “The only thing that could prevent a worse effect is the exchange rate rising, which means tourists who are less affected by inflation will choose to travel locally.”

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