Pakistan is ready to facilitate tourism businesses, attraction developers, investors & companies

World Tourism Day is being celebrated every year by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with a purpose to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.

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ISLAMABAD: Today, we celebrate the World Tourism Day as a country that hosts some of the world’s most iconic vistas and fascinating cultures. This day is celebrated every year by all member states of the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization, of which Pakistan is an active member. I would like to congratulate the entire travel Tourism Community of Pakistan on the occasion of World Tourism Day 2021. This industry has survived the toughest times during the past two years due to the Pandernic of Covid – 19, which has altered every definition of travel, tourism and leisure that man has known for ages. Government of Pakistan has made all possible efforts to keep the tourism sector open and functional during these testing times under SOPs issued by NCOC from time to time. It is heartening to note that Pakistan’s Tourism Industry is performing much better than many established destinations during pandernic. The government will continue its efforts to support during the pandemic era to facilitate the workforce associated with tourism sector across the country. Pakistan’s Tourism Industry has been marred by lack of attention and remained untapped since long. For the first time tourism sector has been assigned due priority and focus. During the past two years, government of Pakistan has taken major steps to revive the tourism sector to benefit from the tourism potentials the country holds. In this regard a national tourism brand of Pakistan has been developed including national tourism e – portal that provides all tourists related information through click of a button. To facilitate foreign tourists, e – visa has been introduced for 193 countries while visa on arrival facility has been provided for 50 countries. National Tourism Strategy 2020-30 along with National Action Plan 2020-25 have been developed to provide a national framework for development of tourism sector in a systematic and coherent way. To ensure value for money and the best quality services to local and international tourists, National Minimum Standards for Tourism and Hospitality sector have been introduced, which are being implemented under the supervision of Provincial Regional Tourism Departments. Multiple International Standard Feasibility Studies are at the final stages of completion, which will be presented to local and international investors to attract FDI and mobilize local investment. Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) has been revamped to fully focus on creating enabling tourism environment in the country and make Pakistan a known tourist destination. -2 Domestic Tourism has already increased manifold in the past few years. I would now like to invite the world to visit Pakistan and experience its untapped touristic value. Pakistan is also ready to facilitate tourism businesses, attraction developers, investors, hotel chains and companies in every possible manner. Pakistan Zindabad. Digital marketing holds promise for tourism promotion and that’s what exactly the present government is doing by rolling out an inclusive project -Brand Pakistan- in coming days to transform the country’s image by projecting its breath-taking tourist resorts at international level through online means.

Adding to this, Air University, in order to mark the World Tourism Day, has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a renowned tourism organization, National Tourism Pakistan (NTP), to extend mutual cooperation in various areas related to tourism and hospitality. World Tourism Day is being celebrated every year by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with a purpose to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.

Vice Chancellor Air Marshal (Retd) Javaid Ahmed, in his worthy remarks, stated that Pakistan is endowed with a rich civilization and tourism sites. “Several countries on the world map are earning a huge amount of revenue only through tourism,” he said, while appreciating the state policies of the current regime for promotion of tourism. “Pakistan has many historical, religious, cultural, archeological, and adventurous sites that could attract a large number of tourists from around the globe,” he expressed.

“No doubt, our youth is very active in showcasing attractive and beautiful sites on various social media platforms,” Executive Director NTP Zeeshan Shahzad stated, adding that many blogs, vlogs, and youtube channels are projecting a positive image of Pakistan at the international level.” However, he further emphasized the need for a centralized national tourism portal to benefit the entire tourism industry.

Director Student Affairs Fazaila Ali, who signed the MoU on behalf of the Air University, emphasized that the tourism industry has a big potential to provide employment opportunities to the youth. According to her, Air University is committed to explore new horizons for the best interest of its students and the society. She further highlighted that Air University is one of the leading universities which is offering a four year degree programme in Tourism and Hospitality Management.

The participants, during the open discussion, endorsed that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in having a massive socio-economic impact on the telecom industry overall. However, there is also a constant rise in domestic tourists to various tourist sites in Pakistan.

On the occasion, Vice Chancellor Air University Air Marshal (Retd) Javaid Ahmed, Registrar Air Cdre (Retd) Abdul Wahab Motla, Director QEC Air Cdre (Retd) Ahmed Hassan, Director Academics Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Tariq Matin, Dean AUSOM Dr. Mueen Aizaz Zafar, Director Student Affairs Fazaila Ali, Assistant Director (P&AA) Sabah Uddin Qazi, Placement Officer Gulnaz Batool and Assistant Officer Misbah Shahid represented the Air University whereas the delegate of NTP, led by its Executive Director Zeeshan Shahzad, was comprising of Prof Naveed Ashraf and Farah Yasin.

“The competent authority has already given approval for Brand Pakistan and now our focus is on its launch which is expected in coming month,” a senior officer of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) told.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, soon after coming into the power, tasked the PTDC with transforming the local tourism industry by developing a brand for local tourism industry at global level.

He said the initiative, which includes Brand Pakistan, exclusive tourism portal, a ten-year road-map for tourism promotion, a five-year action plan and national minimum standards for hospitality sector, was meant to boost tourism activities in the country. All the components of project would be unveiled at its launching ceremony, he added.

Giving details of the project, he said international experts were hired to prepare the project, which was finalized after holding thorough consultation with all stakeholders.

He said the Brand Pakistan had an exclusive tourism portal, which was meant to promote the country’s tourist attractions across the world through virtual galleries, videos and documentaries.

It would provide world-class exposure to Pakistan’s tourist attractions through one click. It consisted of a user-friendly interface to interact with the prospective tourists and give them the necessary and latest information about the country’s tourist attractions, he added.

He said a ten-year road-map to invigorate tourism industry was also part of the project. The ‘National Tourism Strategy’ (NTS) 2020-2030 would ensure maximum utilization of its huge resources for sustained economic growth, poverty alleviation and reduced social inequalities.

He said the strategy was guided by a vision (2020-2030) that envisaged, a mature, sustainable and responsible tourism industry contributing significantly to the economic development of Pakistan and the quality of life of all her people, primarily through job creation, social inclusion and economic growth.

The NTS would raise the industry’s competitiveness and ensure maximum utilization of Pakistan’s natural, cultural, historical and geographical assets, he added.

The officer said salient features of the strategy included sustained economic growth, employment creation, pov­erty reduction, safety and security of tourists, roads and efficient transport services, comfortable and hygienic accommodation and restaurants, value shopping, efficient telecommunication services and access to quality health services.

As a part of National Tourism strategy, he said a five-year National Tourism Strategy Action Plan (2020-2025) had also been prepared that would provide a road-map for effective implementation of the strategic efforts to boost tourism.

He said it was a welcoming development that the sector has been bounced back despite the coronavirus pandemic Pakistan. The government kept open the tourism sector during the pandemic by ensuring full implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) for stemming the virus spread.

About the steps taken by the government to attract foreign tourists, he said the facility of e-visa was introduced for 193 countries, while 50 countries were provided visa-on-arrival service.

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