Pakistan’s prime minister reiterates his government’s commitment to utilizing tourism as revenue generator
Greater coordination between the federal and provincial governments is essential to fully capitalize on Pakistan’s tourism potential, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday.
Chairing a meeting on how best to promote tourism to the country, Khan said a single body should be formed to supervise the renovation of existing tourist infrastructure. He also urged the participants to focus on developing tourism nationwide, as focusing on Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the country’s northern areas came with seasonal constraints. He echoed his government’s commitment to “religious tourism,” noting Punjab and parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa could especially benefit from this.
The prime minister said international investors from across the world had expressed interest in funding the development of Pakistan’s tourism sector. He gave the example of Switzerland, Turkey and Malaysia, saying all were earning huge revenue from their tourism industry. “Pakistan has diverse and rich tourism potential in terms of mountain tourism, adventure tourism, desert tourism and religious tourism,” he added.
Availing the tourism potential, he said, could help generate revenue, introduce jobs, and create new economic activities to contribute toward the country’s socioeconomic development.
During the meeting, the participants reviewed all the progress thus far in realizing the promotion of tourism in Pakistan. Khan said government rest houses, built on and maintained by taxpayers’ money, should be used as a source of income. “Pakistan is emerging as an attractive destination on the international tourism map due to its beautiful natural landscape. We must capitalize on this potential by expediting infrastructure development, provision of services and facilitation,” he added. The prime minister also directed the development of tourism infrastructure and services in line with the preferences and priorities of tourist groups and adherence to ecotourism principles.
The meeting was informed that efforts were underway to organize an international tourism conference in Pakistan and that special facilities were being extended for monks at Peshawar Museum. Similarly, Sikh visitors were being facilitated for visits to parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Special tourist apps would also be introduced for the facilitation of tourists.
In addition to the prime minister, the meeting was also attended by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Tourism Muhammad Atif Khan and other senior officials.