President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that the current government is realising the untapped potential of tourism of the country. By easing the visa policy more tourists and traders will come to the country. Despite huge potential, tourism sector contributes to only 3 percent of the GDP which is approx. $ 8 billion and it is expected that it will grow to $ 10 billion till 2025.
The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that Malaysia has only beach tourism and its tourism industry is comprised of $ 20 billion while Turkey has beach and historical tourism while its tourism sector stood around $ 40 billion. Pakistan has 700 KM long coastal belt, ancient civilization like Harrappa and Mohin Jo Daro, ancient civilized cities including Lahore, Multan and Peshawar. Taxila and Takht Bhai possess antiques of Buddhism which are sacred for its followers in Japan, China and other parts of the World. Several ancient temples are located in ancient cities like Peshawar where followers of Hinduism may be attracted. Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib are the most sacred places for Sikh people. Government initiative of opening Kartarpur boarder will surely draw positive impacts. These places can be developed to promote historical, religious and beach tourism respectively in the Country.
The Former Minister said that Pakistan is destination of beautiful scenic mountains located in Gilgit Baltistan, Swat and Chitral, where adventurous tourism may be promoted. Pakistan’s campaign of visit Pakistan will promote soft image of Pakistan internationally and will help Pakistan in attracting tourists from across the globe. With improved law and order situation in the Country, the future of tourism is safe and glorious. Easing the visa policy with facility of on arrival visa for 50 countries, business visa for 68 countries and e-visa for 175 countries in addition to abolishing the NOC condition for tourists will attract more tourists & trade, investment, employment and hotel industry will also flourish with tourism. More hotels will be required to build in order to facilitate the increased number of tourists.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that to develop the tourism sector, KPK government has taken the initiative of opening 20 new tourist destinations; sites have been identified in Chitral, Swat, Dir, Hazara and Tribal districts of the province. To develop basic infrastructure in these areas, negotiation for loan are undergoing with the World Bank. With new tourist destinations, both local and foreign tourists will attract. Other provinces including Sindh, Balochistan, and Punjab should also join hands with federal government to promote tourism in the Country.