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Pak tourism expected to meet upswing under new Govt.

ISLAMABAD:  New government under Prime Minister Imran Khan has demonstrated mammoth interest to support tourism in Pakistan.
In his first speech to the nation after being elected as prime minister, Imran Khan said Pakistan has God gifted tourist sites and the country is bestowed with huge tourism potential. He vowed to promote tourism to strengthen the country’s economy.
“The government will promote and position Pakistan as Asia’s Best Kept Secret in the global tourism market in order to boost tourism,” Raja Khurram Nawaz, a lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) told media recently.
He said four new tourist resorts would be opened every year to promote the tourism industry, adding that the government will revamp the accommodation infrastructure and transport services across the country,
As the new government has shown determination and keen interest to improve and promote the tourism sector by taking result-oriented measures, Pakistan’s tourism sector is optimistic and expecting a further boost, Xinhua reported on Thursday.
Humayun Iqbal Shami, Chairman of Pakistan Economic Forum Islamabad, said that tourism is considered as one of the most important sectors to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Apart from the GDP, it is also one of the important indicators which depict the improved security situation in the country.
“Pakistan can double its GDP size within a few years if tourism is established on a scientific and technical basis. It can create around 10 million new jobs and substantial share in tax revenue and earn handsome foreign exchange too,” Shami opined.
While appreciating and being hopeful about the vision of Imran Khan to make tourism one of the priorities, Shami was of the view that tourism is an important sector which can solve Pakistan’s economic difficulties in a short time span.
He said many countries are getting 30 percent of its GDP from the tourism sector, but tourism earning in Pakistan only makes up around two percent in the GDP, mainly due to the war on terrorism, nominal marketing, outdated public and private sector infrastructure and services.
Khawaja Ali Imran, director of the Tourist Service at the Ministry of Tourism of Pakistan, said: “the incumbent government will definitely improve the tourism industry as the newly-elected prime minister has shown special interest and attention for its improvement and promotion.”
“We need to devise a patent and effective tourism policy at the federal and provincial levels to further improve tourism,” the official said.
He stressed the importance of promoting tourism at the international level and attracting big international tourism marketing companies to cooperate with Pakistani ones.
Tameezudin Khan, a resident of the Chitral district, who owns a hotel in Kalash valley and has been engaged in the hoteling business for the last 18 years, said that for many years, tourists were scared of visiting far-off valleys in Chitral due to the fear of militancy but as the security situation improved, the area has seen an upsurge in the number of tourists.
“During the last five-year tenure of the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government, the tourism sector has witnessed a remarkable improvement in attracting tourists both locally and internationally due to the adoption of vibrant tourism policy,” the hotel owner said.
“As the PTI has assumed power at the center recently, I hope the Pakistani tourism industry will thrive under their leadership,” he added.


Hissan Sheikh

Karachi's S M Law College graduate Hissan Sheikh writes on crime and local politics etc.